05 September 2017


You can't say that Maruki doesn't challenge itself, or at least that John Gould, conductor and musical director, doesn't challenge his players. Maruki takes on the full deal. I started with Beethoven 5th and did his third soon afterwards.. Otherwise, it's been a string of Dvorak symphonies and others by Tchaikovsky, Brahms, Mozart Requiem and one Bach suite, Pictures at an exhibition and a string of concerti. And Bolero, repetitive but popular as it is. This time was no let-up: Mendelssohn Ruy Blas overture and violin concerto played by John, and Tchaikovsky Symphony no.2. John likes to take on the beg works. It was a hard program, lots of tricky bowing and quick tempi, not least in Ruy Blas. The concerto was perhaps the most difficult I've played as accompaniment. John did an excellent job as always. But he's got a history in the LSO, no less, so there's talent and experience here. You just have to hear his anecdotes at practice to appreciate his background. Maybe not as young and lively as he was, but still with fire and a senior's awareness. And the Tchaikovsky. The Dvorak 4 that we played at the last concert was perhaps my favourite at that time. Now perhaps it's the Tchaikovsky 2 with its unrelenting drive and ongoing sequences. Just get on board; you're in for an exhilarating ride, as long as we can hold it together. And we did, perhaps except for one passage where one section rushed ahead. The clarity and intonation were sometimes a challenge, but this is a community orchestra of all ages taking on the most profound and challenging works. It's a funny feeling when it's over, you stand for the final bow, the wariness and tension relieved, the work of months performed. The audience does its part in clapping, but I find it a strange time, relaxed but not particularly elated, almost ready to think to the next challenge. For Maruki, it's Dvorak 6 and Pomp and Circumstance (a good English crowd pleaser for the run-up to Christmas) and Gounod ballet music. All great fun and excellent training for this game. Well done all in Maruki and looking forward to the next one.

Maruki Community Orchestra performed Mendelssohn and Tchaikovsky mostly under John Gould (conductor). The Mendelssohn violin concerto featured John Gould (violin) as soloist under Michael Stenning (conductor).

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