Sunday, 24 May 2009

Langtree Sinfonia

Recently I started rehearsing with another orchestra, the Langtree Sinfonia, at the invitation of a friend of mine who had helped out with his trumpet at one of my Crowthorne Orchestra performances last year. Langtree Sinfonia takes its name from the School where it rehearses, having been set up there a few decades ago as an adult education class that developed into a permanent ensemble. It is interesting just how many of the community orchestras and bands started this way.

This evening we had a concert in the beautiful Dorchester Abbey which is about 19 miles North of my house. The programme was fairly standard, an overture, a concerto and a symphony:

  • Rossini - The Barber of Seville overture
  • Beethoven - Violin concerto - Soloist: Todor Nikolaev
  • Sibelius - 1st symphony
After assembling with our instruments for a formal orchestra photo, we started the concert at 7 pm. The overture was nothing special, just a warm up to get everyone going, really. The Violin Concerto had been somewhat dull in the rehearsals. Naturally we did not have the soloist with us, so it was lacking in that key aspect. Even in the play-through in the afternoon, the soloist did not play the cadenzas, which have no orchestra backing, so I was not prepared for anything special from him. However, his main cadenza was quite long, but incredibly musical and very dexterous. It was a real pleasure to be a part of that. But for me the real highlight was the Sibelius 1st Symphony. This is a marvellous piece of music, and this was the first time we had played it with timps, trombones and tuba. I have got to know the symphony very well over the last few months in rehearsals, so it was a tremendous experience playing through the whole of it. Naturally, one or two of us got lost, particular one climactic section where all we could hear from where I sat was the timps bashing away so loud that we lost our place. But it all came together at the end in a huge climax, with the sounds resounding around the old abbey. What a great evening.

Next time I might bring some people along to listen, if they can make it to such an out of the way place in the Oxfordshire countryside.

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Reading, Berkshire, United Kingdom

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