November 2018 - Autumn Classics
Both the programme note and Darrell Davison's introduction set us up for a maritime disaster to start Sunday afternoon's concert. As it was we had all the thrills one could wish for from the SSO without loss or injury. A great way to wake a post prandial Sevenoaks audience - all instrumental sections were alert to the potential of this score and added a tangy salt spray to Wagner's vision of the eponymous Dutchman - great!
Mahler's Adagietto from the fifth symphony as David Floyd suggested in his notes comes with all sorts of baggage, making it really hard for a string section to take on without a bit [a lot?] of trepidation. They achieved wonders - last time I heard this piece it was with double the numbers of players - this was no less convincing. Indeed the chamber music like sound was very appealing and gave it a pleasing intimacy. A considerable achievement!
Joo Yeon Sir despite her comparative youth possesses a fine maturity of approach. Ideal for a staple of the repertoire such as the Bruch concerto. This was a considered performance, without histrionics, and thus engaging and rewarding listening. Orchestra and soloist seemed to have reached a real musical understanding and we were treated to an intelligent and completely assured reading that had something new to say without being gimmicky. What a superb idea to have it dedicated to Barbara Strudwick - she would undoubtedly have been delighted by this reading.
Elgar's second symphony is such a huge piece in every respect with so many potential layers of appreciation that it can be a daunting first listen. For some certainly this was a premier hearing and Darrell's intro gave them a useful set of scenarios to envisage, particularly in the long last movement with its Tintagel associations. This performance gave levels of appreciation to all. We could wallow in the inventive sound world or revel in the intertwining contrapuntal lines or marvel at the skill of performance and stamina or be amazed how modern it sounds. [-just a bit too modern for a couple of bars in the last movement??]. Impossible to do justice to the musical experience we were treated to in just a few words - the great thing being that all the audience got a reward whether it was their first hearing or their twenty-first.