Last evening’s concert (22 July) was a wonderful experience – adventurous programming and brilliant playing.
I would not have gone out of my way to hear Schnittke – composer in residence at The Aldeburgh Festival some years back I seem to remember and a bit daunting I felt at the time – but I am so glad I was given the opportunity to hear Moz-Art à la Haydn in yesterday’s programme, especially as I would never have searched it out on my own. It was a thrill to listen to and, as you said, to watch the movements on stage. I can’t lay claim to the bottle of wine, though!
The Shostakovich I last heard at a live performance at The Royal Festival Hall many years ago. I can honestly say I enjoyed your Hadleigh performance more – perhaps because, being closer to the orchestra, I felt more engaged. Some beautiful soft playing from the trumpet soloist and lovely string playing in the second movements and opening of the third (being an amateur cellist I appreciate fine string playing). It took some time, I believe, for Shostakovich to be recognised and the breadth and variety of his compositions are simply astounding. As you said this is not a profound work but it seems to me to be well crafted and rewarding to listen to. The quotes from other composers mentioned in your programme notes eluded me, I’m afraid. I wish you would give me a bit of guidance because it would enhance my enjoyment of this work on further listening.
As a finale things, musically speaking, don’t get much better that Tchaikovsky’s Serenade. The dozen string players gave a superb account of this work with such rich, tuneful playing that it was hard to believe so few musicians were producing it. Mark Kadin knew how to get the best from them without exaggerated gestures – George Szell would have been delighted judging from his quote in the programme.
My wife and friend who accompanied me came away from the concert equally as thrilled as I was. The least I could do was to put pen to paper and convey these words of appreciation to you.