Elgar – In the South (Alassio)
Mendelssohn – Violin Concerto in E minor Op. 64
Ian McQueen – Earthly Paradise (BBC commission: world première)
Edward Elgar, having lived until February 1934, is one of the more contemporary composers of the ‘classical’ genre. Elements of Strauss, Mahler and other late romantic composers can be heard throughout this symphony; Elgar makes good use of the expansion of the modern Orchestra, including not just strings, but brass, woodwind and plenty of percussion. As soon as the orchestra begins to play I am impressed. Partly because of the quality of sound, partly because of the already apparent togetherness of the orchestra, but mainly because of the sheer energy exerted from the first few bars alone. There was something powerful, yet calming in how the orchestra worked together as a team, as one body. They didn’t just produce a sound - they created an atmosphere. As the piece hit its peak point in the music about 7 minutes in, I realised that not only was it entertaining to hear, but also enjoyable to watch - you could see from the expression on each of the performer’s faces that they were enjoying themselves as much as we were.