10 April 2018

Evening at TheL

Now in black and at Llewellyn. First up is composer Jessica Wells giving a pre-concert talk. She spoke of her experiences as a composer and especially in film, supporting various renowned names on major projects as well as doing her own compositions. Also of the development of this piece of 12 short movements picturing the 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac calendar. She had used it to experiment with different compositional tools, layering, colours, parts and combinations, various percussion and their uses and shapes for a workshop with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra. It's an interesting and surprisingly challenging piece: for the basses, especially for Snake with its slithering odd time and exposed bottom end. Jessica mentioned she was originally from Brooklyn and we chatted about Park Slope and Seventh Ave afterwards. Then the serious work of the night: the concert. First up, Zodiac Animalia, a world premier performance, then a stage move and Matt Withers soloing on Castelnouvo-Tedesco Guitar concerto. Then interval and Rodrigo Concerto Madrigal with Matt and Callum Henshaw, another stage move and Rimsky-Korsakov Capriccio Espagnol. Other than Jessica's starter, this was a Spanish heavy night. I hadn't expected to enjoy it as much as I did, but it went over stunningly well and I was surprisingly taken by the music, or at least the performance. Megan was in Madrid that night so I dedicated it to her. I shouldn't be surprised - this is a seriously decent non-professional orchestra with an impressive conductor and some very decent players. I am often surprised by the skills on stage or in rehearsal at NCO: easy sight-reading, impressive chops and the two guitars were hugely impressive, seemingly joined at the hip for the pairing in Rodrigo. And how could you not be taken in by the finish of the Rimsky-Korsakov? The turnout at Llewellyn was decent and the whole was professionally videoed, so we can expect to see at least some on YouTube sometime. Just another wonderfully satisfying outing with NCO. And the inevitable party after. A big day and massive fun.

Jessica Wells (composer) gave the pre-concert talk. National Capital Orchestra performed Wells Zodiac Animalia (world premiere), Castelnuovo-Tedesco, Radrigo and Rimsky-Korsakov. Leonard Weiss (conductor) led with soloists Matt Withers and Callum Henshaw (guitars).

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