Wednesday 22 June 2005

At last night's Salomon concert

To St. John's Smith Square last night for a concert by the Salomon Orchestra conducted by Robin Ticciati. The orchestra are London's leading non-professional orchestra; having been founded in 1963 by a group of college friends, they were once described as the oldest youth orchestra in existence.

That said, they are an extremely good ensemble and put on some amazing concerts of pretty tricky stuff. Their Strauss Alpine Symphony last year was tremendous, particularly as the size of the orchestra meant that took up a sizeable chunk of the auditorium in St. Johns. They did a concert for me in 2003 when they premiered 3 of my orchestral works and we keep talking about maybe doing another based around my setting of Rilke's 2nd Duino Elegy for baritone and orchestra.

Last night they were conducted by a very young conductor, Robin Ticciati, fresh out of Clare College, but he is certainly a name to watch. If he can produce as fine a performance now of Mahler 5 think what he'll be like in 10 year time. In fact last night seemed to be youth night as the orchestra was joined by Guy Johnston, BBC Young Musician of 2000, for a fine performance of Schumann's Cello Concerto.

It is a long time since I have heard Mahler 5 (its a long time since I've heard any Mahler symphony in concert) and I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it. D. did as well and I think it might have been his first Mahler, so perhaps we'll be going for more

I note that Damian Thantrey, who sang the title role in the performances of my opera Garrett in 2003, will be doing Mahler's Ruckert Lieder with the orchestra in February (along with the Rachmaninov Symphonic Dances), definitely a date for the diary

In fact there were a number of performers there last night with connections to my music. Besides the members of the octet who accompanied The Young Man and Death in 1998; one of the horns played the solo part in the premiere, at Burgh House, of the first version of my song cycle Songs of Love and Loss, then one of the clarinets played the solo part in the revised version of the song cycle (also at Burgh house, but also recorded at Belsize Music rooms). Another of the horns played the solo part in my cantata Memorare, which was premiered by London Concord Singrs. This cantata has 2 movements in common with Songs of Love and Loss. A remarkable series of coincidences.

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