Liz Noble reviews the March concert
QKA provided a delightful venue again for a superb concert by the CPSO. An almost full house enjoyed the playing of a large CPSO orchestra because of the programme scoring. Rachmaninov never did things by halves and this was his largest orchestral composition. Around 60 players performed Sibelius Finlandia, the tone poem that brought Sibelius international recognition, with nearly a dozen brass players giving the powerful introduction. There was no doubt it conveyed a turbulent storm to demonstrate the struggle of the Finnish people and interspersed with gentle woodwind, gave a really delightful, strong overture. ,
A piano concerto is always welcome but Mozart’s no. 20 in D minor is a special treat. There is lots of drama within the complicated structure and, unusually for Mozart, it is in a minor key. Jeremy Young, a well-known musician, (pianist, a composer and teacher) gave a brief informative introduction and then made the performance seem effortless despite covering almost every note on the keyboard, not to mention the trills. The dynamics were strong and the interaction with the orchestra was clear and precise. The Romance was simply stunning in its lyrical and delicate melody giving respite after the storm in the first movement. Fire and brimstone returned for the Rondo finale demonstrating competition between orchestra and pianist, but as is usual in Mozart’s time, the finish gives an optimistic resolution. Congratulations to all for a confident, strong, yet delicate and thoroughly enjoyable performance.
During the interval I noted several Friends already starting to answer the regular Friends’ quiz that has been prepared by Janet Frusher for many years. Then we took our seats for the Rachmaninov Symphony no. 2 in E minor. After the failure of his first symphony in 1897 Rachmaninov suffered deep depression, convinced he could not write symphonies, and in 1906 was struggling to complete his second symphony. However this eventually received two enormously successful premieres in 1908.
The dark adagio motive in the low strings introduced the Largo – Allegro moderato which developed to culminate in the full orchestra's beautiful lyrical themes that built to a peak then concluded with an intricate (and difficult) coda. Well done to all for holding these difficult timings and numerous notes together. The second movement, Allegro molto, had brighter and more cheerful themes, interchanging with lavish, march-like and unpredictable styles. The eloquent and melodic third movement marked Adagio provided excellent solos for violin, clarinet and violins and oboe, all ending in a tranquil manner that died away in the strings. The Finale (Allegro Vivace) had strong and powerful themes often drawn from previous movements, but the exuberance was clear in the playing and concluded a fine symphony.
Congratulations to CPSO for tackling and succeeding in an excellent programme giving us all a most entertaining and pleasurable afternoon. I am sure it was an exhausting programme for you all but look forward to the summer concert on 17th June.