As has become our norm, the summer concert consisted of lighter, shorter pieces of music. The exception this time was the first movement of a Beethoven piano concerto, which owing to issues with the soloist, had been postponed from our spring concert. As the concert fell on the same day as the World Cup final all the other pieces were loosely associated with football.
A few years ago some orchestra members came up with the idea of playing a piano concerto. At the time I declined the chance because I don’t do classical piano. A few years later I was up for a challenge and wanting to put my playing to the test. So I began work on the first movement of Beethoven’s First Piano Concerto. The orchestra really rose to the demands of this piece and played large sections without a conductor. I think the listening skills of the orchestra will have improved a great deal as a result of playing this work. And I developed my piano playing through having to do disciplined practice. I hope the audience enjoyed our combined efforts. I couldn’t resist adding a little football into the cadenza.
I was really pleased that David was able to play Nessun Dorma as a horn solo. David joined the orchestra not long after I took over and his development has been part of his recovery following a stroke. It was obvious to me from day one that David is a fine musician and I was really pleased that he was able to show everyone his musicianship through his playing of this piece.
Capriccio Espagnol (Spain won the World Cup in 2010 and so at the time of playing still held the title) represented some of our best playing and I was especially pleased with our dynamic contrasts. Popular music made up the rest of the programme including a fun piece called Fiesta Tropicale which was a challenge for the orchestra with its variety of Latin rhythms. We had worked hard at this item which was well out of our collective comfort zone and we played it really well. My Mum liked this one.
Finally in the vain hope that England might have made it to the final I had selected We Are the Champions. Alas, and entirely predictably, England had gone out early so there was no chance of England being champions, but we played it nonetheless.