On Saturday 26th November the Imperial College School of Medicine Orchestra?s Winter Concert took place in St James?s church, Sussex Gardens in which they performed the Harry Potter Symphonic Suite by John Williams, Suite from the Ballet the Nutcracker by Peter Ilyitch Tchaikovsky and Felix Mendelssohn?s Third Symphony, ?Scottish.?
The conductor for the concert was Surjo De, a fifth year medical student at IC. This was his first concert conducting the Medics' Symphony Orchestra, although he has conducted the Medics? Chamber Choir for the last three years and last year also conducted United Hospitals Music Orchestra in their annual concert in Southwark Cathedral.
The concert began well with the Harry Potter Symphonic Suite. This is an arrangement by Brubaker of the major themes from ?Harry Potter and the Philosopher?s Stone? using the composer?s original orchestrations. It acts as a tour through the film with all the main themes you hear in the film?s soundtrack used. The orchestra played brilliantly throughout this piece, obviously enjoying it and the audience were suitably carried along in the musicians' enthusiasm. There was some particularly excellent work from the solo horn and celeste in the exposed opening passages of the music, although at times later in the piece there were some insecurities in the wind sections.
Next came Tchaikovsky?s Suite from the Nutcracker. This is the only adaptation of a Tchaikovsky ballet written by the composer himself - the suites from Swan Lake and Sleeping Beauty were arranged after his death. It was the first Russian work to use a celeste and as such was performed a full year before the premiere of the ballet. The suite follows the story of the ballet, that of Clara?s journey through the Land of Sweets to free her enchanted prince from his curse and is a well known and loved Christmas favourite. The orchestra, again, played with much enthusiasm and a good performance by all.
The interval (and a glass of wine) later, the second half of the concert began more sombrely as a tribute to Jasmine Anandarajah, a member of the Medics Music Society who died during the summer, was read out by a member of the society.
After a few moments of silence the concert continued on with Mendelssohn?s Symphony No 3, ?Scottish?. Mendelssohn found the inspiration for this piece on a trip to Scotland in 1829 during which he visited Edinburgh?s Holyrood House, as he described it in a letter to his sister, ?the Palace where Queen Mary lived and loved?. The work, however, was not finished for many years ? this third symphony was the last of his five symphonies to be completed. The orchestra gave a competent performance of this work, the final Allegro Guerriero and Finale Maestoso sections being particularly enjoyable. This reporter felt that the orchestra were less enthusiastic and perhaps less sure of this piece that those in the first half which were performed so well, but it was still a satisfactory performance.
Overall this was an admirable performance and this reporter was impressed and would certainly recommend going to any further Medics Music Society concerts this year. For more information about the Medics Music Society, see their website.