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Live! - Culture

ICSO Autumn Concert

Nov 29 2004 11:50
Mr Bojangles
Last Friday saw the IC Symphony Orchestra perform their first concert of the year.
Another impressive performance from ICSO

The Imperial College Symphony Orchestra is known for performing concerts of an extremely high standard, and this was certainly not going to disappoint the expectant audience. Skilfully directed by Richard Dickens, the challenging programme included works from Berlioz, Sibelius, Larsson and Tchaikovsky.

The Roman Carnival Overture is amongst the most popular works of Hector Berlioz, written with music rescued from his failed opera, Benvenuto Cellini. After a dramatic introduction, the piece opens out into a moving love theme, sympathetically performed by Charles Craddock on the cor anglais. The subsequent Allegro showed the sheer brilliance of the string section in this orchestra, who met the brass to bring the overture to a close.

Jean Sibelius' 'Finlandia' is another popular tune, instantly recognisable to the audience by the colossal opening brass and percussion crescendo. Written in a Finland oppressed by Tsarist Russia, the piece has become as big a symbol of pride and patriotism to the Finnish as Elgar's Pomp &

Circumstance is to the British. The whole orchestra soon join in to race towards the majestic and exquisitely executed woodwind chorale. Although the brass section seemed to lose coordination in the rhythmic middle sections, they later returned in triumph to end the piece in style.

The presentation of the Concertino for Trombone by Lars-Erik Larsson saw most of the orchestra leave only a handful of strings to accompany the solo trombonist, Douglas Murdoch. The resulting balance was excellent, and the piece, written in 1957, stood out in stark contrast to the rest of the programme. The talented soloist made light work of the many challenging cadenzas of the first movement, and ably drove the music on through a quieter Aria to the confident theme of the finale.

Tchaikovsky's 6th Symphony brought the concert to an end with some of the most demanding music and finest performances of the evening. The interesting orchestration lets the Violas lead most of the first movement, and this rarely-exposed section of the orchestra accomplished this superbly. The piece progresses through an unusual waltz in 5/4 time, to an excited and technically challenging Allegro Molto Vivace. The finale ends the symphony with beautifully expansive string sections, which ultimately die away into nothingness.

The exceptional string sections were the driving force behind this crowd-pleasing concert. It was unfortunate that the Celli were at times weak in their exposed sections, and the conductor occasionally struggled to control the brass in others, but the overall standard of the orchestra was outstanding. Both violin sections were terrific and notable soloists from the woodwind included Timothy Perutz (Clarinet) and Christopher Cooper (Bassoon).

The orchestra's audiences now have the spring concert to look forward to, which is to include Stravinsky's Rite of Spring. No doubt it will be as brilliant as ever.

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Discussion about “ICSO Autumn Concert”

The comments below are unmoderated submissions by Live! readers. The Editor accepts no liability for their content, nor for any offence caused by them. Any complaints should be directed to the Editor.
Nov 29 2004 16:44

Not exactly a challenging programme though. You would think that the auditioned orchestra would play something a little more difficult!

2. al   
Dec 08 2004 18:54

what? like Stravinsky's Rite of Spring perhaps?

3. nick   
Dec 09 2004 17:37

Or how about Bartok Concerto for Orchestra? Britten War Requiem? Stravinsky Firebird Suite? Hindemith Symphonic Metamorphoses? Mahler 2? Ravel Daphnis & Chloe? Actually we've played all of those - are they challenging enough for 'audience member'?

4. jc   
Dec 09 2004 17:57

"audience member" sounds a little bitter!

Dec 09 2004 23:33

I think "audience member" is missing the point - it's not what you play, but how well you play it.

Would you have said the same thing if LSO etc. had played a similar programme?

6. al   
Dec 09 2004 23:41

And that's a strange looking trombone giving a concerto in the photo, and come to think of it I'm sure the conductor looked 'different'

7. mr me   
Dec 10 2004 03:19

Audience member, since you are so splendid, perhaps you could put on a more "challenging" show?

I imagine shoving a pinapple up your a**e is pretty tricky...

Dec 10 2004 11:39

I'm sure you could do that too Mr me if you really tried. Although that would limit your ability to speak wouldn't it.

How about being a little more civil next time. I'm sure 'audience member' would be willing to discuss the choice of pieces in an mature fashion

Dec 10 2004 11:53

Unfortunately it is not always possible to have photos taken during the actual event particularly due to my (and often the artist(s)) preference that performances aren't marred by irritating flashes from peoples cameras. However I still believe that in the case where a photo has not been taken, either during the concert or with prior arrangement during a rehearsal etc, any photo of the group/society in question (even if from a previous year) drastically increases the likelihood of people reading the reviews, and possibly attending future concerts.

10. al   
Dec 10 2004 15:13

Fair enough I guess, it was only meant as a joke. My sentiments were only that it would be nice to have a photo of a concert actually conducted by Imperial's own Director of Music, instead of some concert from over 18 months ago.

Closed This discussion is closed.

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