Once again appearing in St. Augustine's Church Queen's Gate, the medics orchestra played a selection of music, all to their usual high standard. The programme this evening consisted of Night on Bare Mountain (Mussorgsky), Concertino (for flute, Chaminade) and the second half was Symphony No. 7 (Dvorak). All in all another balanced programme, with a soloist; as which has become almost the standard form for their concerts.
With a slighty less than full audience, the orchestra under direction of their conductor, Matthew Whitaker (who is in fact a 4th year student himself) sprang into life with the famous piece from Mussorgsky. The piece is technically challenging for the string sections but they performed admirably and played the piece wonderfully. With deep concentration on all the faces of the orchestr, they worked hard to create a deep, thick atmosphere inside the church, which helped to convey the 'story' highlighed from Mussorgsky's autograph manuscript which was printed in the programme notes. Credit should go to the brass who played forcefully and with excellent tone for the duration. The ending of the piece, which converys a very different feeling, was played with lots of expression, especially from the solo woodwinds and this created another atmospheric sensation as the piece closed. A very good performance, as expected, from the orchestra of this hard piece although as previously mentioned in other reviews, the clarity of the orchestra was sometimes lost in reverberation of the large church. This did spoil little sections of the piece but overall it wasn't a large issue in this forceful piece.
The second piece of the concert was the less well known Chaminade Concertino for Flute and Orchestra. Being a flautist who has played this piece I was eager to hear it with orchestra as I had only previously heard and played it with piano. Tonight's soloist was Tiana Kordbacheh ? a first year medic ? who has played the flute from the age of nine and pass her grade eight four years later ? a totally astounding achievement. Hopes were high for a spirited and excellent performance, and in the main this was true. Tiana's playing was to an excellent standard ? beautiful tone and excellent coordination meant that the solo came across very well, even though at some times she looked a little nervous ? but this didn't affect the performance. The piece did however suffer from the acoustics of the church ? the long reverb sometimes drowned out the soloist and made it hard to hear her playing. Also, the orchestra itself was perhaps a little loud although it is difficult to play alongside a single flautist as the flute by nature isn't a particularly loud instrument. Overall the piece was well received and was a great performance by the soloist. In the interval that followed I managed to get a few words with her, and learned that her teacher from the age of fifteen was Helen Mills, a name that I had heard before and knew was an excellent teacher ? and this was certainly confirmed here.
After the interval, we heard Dvorak's 7th Symphony. This is a very beautiful, flowing work that was a pleasure to listen to, especially as I hadn't heard it before. Again, the orchestra played as one to produce a great sound with good intonation and diction. The audience (which had grown during the first piece) was taken with the performance, and was captivated throughout. Playing out all the expressive sections, the attention to detail meant the performance was as good as ever from the orchestra. The acoustics did again play a part here but it did help make the sound richer and the performance warmer in a way.
Overall, the concert was a great success and as usual was to the high standard expected from them and from musical groups generally at Imperial College. More information about the Medics Music Society can be found on their website. Their next concert is on Saturday, where the Medics' Choir shall perform at St. Augustines at 7.30pm.