Message from Arturo November 2021
Gosh! what a great concert! The evening was a total success! We had nice numbers in the audience, which is very inspiring and the orchestra was simply stunning from beginning to end. I really only have good things to say. It is really nice to get positive feedback from former players, members of the audience and ultimately the orchestra members; as this shows us that we are going in the right direction. The concert really felt like a top notch event! Happy days!
Message from Arturo July 26th 2021
After a pandemic, two lockdowns, a night of thunderstorms before the concert and a yellow alert of floods, our first concert finally took place. The truth is that I couldn’t have wished for a better outcome. The lockdowns may deceive those who don’t know the ESO to think that they had a break from playing; far from it. We did many online rehearsals and play-throughs. The lockdown gave us all the opportunity to see music from a different angle. We had the chance of exploring a wide range of pieces apart from the ones performed at Poltimore. Such as Tchaikovsky’ 2nd Symphony, Mahler 1st Symphony and a small fragment from Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring. The orchestra was at the top of their game once we returned to playing. Because of the social distancing rules, we had to rehearse the woodwind and brass separated from the strings in staggered weeks. Again, the circumstances provided us with the chance of polishing the pieces in great detail. Once the full orchestra was together, the sound was heavenly. The rehearsals progressed very efficiently as everyone was so well prepared after such an intense period of detailed work during the online playthroughs and sectional rehearsals. At the concert, the orchestra offered such a memorable performance.Brahms’s Overture Tragic was played with stunning volcanic energy, perfect clarity, huge confidence; every voice, colour and nuance came through convincingly. Grieg’s Peer Gynt was performed with even more confidence. I could tell that the orchestra knew the piece from performing it in the past. There were magical moments in the first and second movements. However, the great favourite especially between children was the 4th movement (In the Hall of the Mountain King). Here the orchestra built the climax by developing the speed and the sound in an organic and seamless way. The coordination was perfect. Elgar theme and variations I, VII and IX from the famous Enigma Variations were played with the utmost beautiful refinement and pronounced dynamic contrast. The great triumph in the theme, variations I and IX was the quality that emanated from the violins and violas lower strings and the formidable support from the lower strings. The fiendish Troyte (variation VII) was performed perfectly together, with vigorous energy and impressive virtuosity. Finlandia by Jean Sibelius was where things got serious. The orchestra completely changed its sound and masterfully conveyed the contemplative feeling of the Finnish landscape and love for freedom contained in the piece. The sforzandos played by the brass and percussion at the beginning of the piece were mesmerising and immediately grabbed the attention of the audience, setting the atmosphere for the piece to unfold. The last piece was the all-time favourite Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance No 1 in D Major. There was no better way of ending the concert than with such an optimistic, positive and lovely piece that the orchestra performed with enthusiasm and joy! Personally, I was so happy to finally do my first concert as the new conductor of the Exeter Symphony Orchestra. I am thankful and privileged to work with such fine musicians, in such a positive organisation. I look very much forward to many memorable concerts together! Arturo.
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