Wednesday 23 May 2007

Last night's concert

Last night's Salomon Orchestra concert was up to their usual high standard. They were conducted by Nicholas Collon, a talented young man who has only just graduated but seems to have got a significant amount of experience under his belt already.

Lalo's overture to Le Roi d'Ys was a wonderfully full blooded way to start the evening and the work's climax was such that you longed to find out how the opera continued. Fiona McNaught was an equally young soloist in Prokofiev's 1st Violin concerto. A surprisingly lyrical piece, it was certainly a contrast to the bombastic Lalo. Though it took a little time to settle, the performance was expressive and nicely judged.

Finally, of course, Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique. Frankly my favourite bits were the final 2 movements, partly because the climaxes were so shattering in the relatively small auditorium at St. Johns, Smith Square. Also, it was fun watching all the percussion players mobilising for their various tasks - including the multi-player percussion bits.

But, of course, the orchestra does not just do loud and the earlier movements were equally entrancing with some fine cor anglais playing in the 3rd movement.

Collon used a slightly unusual orchestral layout, with 1st violins to the left, 2nd violins to the right, violas in between them and cellos strung out across the back. The 2 harps were placed one either side. I know that Berlioz had distinct ideas about the layout of the orchestra for this piece, so I need to do some research to find out if this layout relates to Berlioz's.

The orchestra's next concert is on Tuesday 9th October when they do another orchestral showpiece, Ravel's orchestration of Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition

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