12 December 2017
Amongst all the differences are the similarities. This one was the kids. National Capital Orchestra played a final concert for the year at Albert Hall on a Saturday afternoon and it was for families. One third of the audience was kids, mostly little ones. Many up front, a few feet from delicate instruments (so think the musos in the front rows) but there were no accidents. There were little bouncing dancing girls, intrigued little ones, very little ones who weren't old enough to get it, hoards lying or sitting on the floor up front. The theme was Peter and the Wolf, Prokofiev's dark story and introduction to the orchestra, narrated by Charles Hudson with suitable deep voice, playful interchange and menacing storyline. He did a great job, as did Leonard throughout, flashing silhouettes of wolf and cat and bird and the rest, chatting with audience with friendly glee, selecting for a kids' conducting competition (a girl won it and got to lead NCO in a encore of a rousing section of Rossini) and otherwise just conducting in his supportive and thoroughly capable way. The other music was Rossini Barber of Seville overture and two that were certainly adult works, Mozart Flute and harp concerto mvt.2 with John Smiles and Elizabeth Alford and Honegger Cello concerto with Christian Renggli. The Honegger is a strange mix of Gershwin jazz themes and modernism. This was Chris' final play with the orchestra before returning to Europe. He's been here for a PhD at ANU including 3.5 years with NCO; he'll be missed. The whole concert went went with amusement and elan where fitting and tons of great playing. This is a seriously capable non-prof orchestra. And then afternoon tea for all after. A great afternoon.
National Capital Orchestra performed at Albert Hall under Leonard Weiss (conductor) with Charles Hudson (narrator) and soloists John Smiles (flute), Elizabeth Alford (harp) and Christian Renggli (cello).