06 August 2018


Cello was the theme of this NCO concert. The feature was the famed Elgar cello concerto in the nice key of Dmin played by Canberran international and SSO member, Christopher Pidcock. Suffice to say, it's fairly difficult given its breath-like timing, in/out, fast/slow, but Lenny was there to follow and he's a master of the prompts so it mostly went well. Chris did a great job, virtuoisic and expressive, played from memory, obviously superbly imbibed. It was the last item of the night, other than Chris' encore of a movement of a Bach cello concerto (4th?) which was done with far more solid time than the concerto, even more steadily than I might have expected. Before the interval things were different. First up was Holst Somerset rhapsody, apparently Holst's first success and a rendition of several English folk songs. I liked the war-like steady bass runs most, but that was our feature. Then a world premiere from Chloe Sinclair called Autonomy. It was fairly short and an easy read other than for the timing: 3/2, 3/4,2/4, some 4/2. It looks tricky but that timing became self-evident as we played it and I liked this one. Then the hard one. Counting was an issue with Elgar, but the Vaughan Williams symphony no.8 Dmin had everything: space, speed, urgency, all manner of changing keys and syncopations. Lots of accidentals (how often do I play Fb?); odd timings like notes on 3 and 5 of 6/8; hazy interleaved themes; sudden accelerations. Even a movement that's just winds, then another movement that's just strings. It was modern, written just in the mid-1950s. I liked the complexity but it's this very thing that takes time to appreciate and double time to learn. Sometimes you never quite get there. Depends on skills and practice time and even memory for the particularly quizzical bits. But so it was. A few errors and a few passes but mostly acceptable and hugely satisfying to have studied and performed. This was at TheQ, a favourite theatre, under Lenny Weiss, a favourite conductor, to a full house. Megan got the last seat, only available after a no-show. And we played as a full, 4-member bass section. Great. Thanks to all.

National Capital Orchestra performed Holst, Siinclair, Vaughan Williams and Elgar at TheQ under Leonard Weiss (conductor) featuring soloist Christopher Pidcock (cello) and a world premiere from Chloe Sinclair (composer). The bass section was Roger Grime, Kate Murphy, Geoff Prime and Eric Pozza (basses).

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