Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra in Sydney 2

Tonight again to hear the TSO.  The house was a bit better than last night, and I got the feeling that there were more genuine paying concertgoers, but my earlier comments still stand.  And this time I heard the whole program.

The program was:

MENDELSSOHN The Hebrides (Overture)
CHOPIN Allegro de Concert
CHOPIN Andante Spianato & Grande Polonaise
MENDELSSOHN Symphony No.4, Italian

The two Chopin works were played by Ewa Kupiec.  The first is a rarity and probably justly so.  The Andante Spianato & Grande Polonaise was pleasant enough, but I will save any critical appreciation until I hear the 2nd concerto tomorrow night.

I have enjoyed and admire the orchestra’s and Lang-Lessing’s approach to Mendelssohn.  It is clear that they have done a lot of work in approaching the style and it has paid off.  The overwhelming impression you get is just how well Mendelssohn structured his works: he really was a supremely ingenious craftsman.  If I found the Scottish symphony last night more heart-warming than the Italian tonight, I think that is because the brilliance of the Italian is familiar and expected, though the orchestra certainly gave a sizzling account.   

After the concert, I chatted briefly with the pianist Philip Shovk.  He asked after my elder sister, who was at the Conservatorium High School with him.  He is possibly the only person in Sydney whom I would meet (apart from old family friends) who remembers her from that time, or remembers that she used to dabble in the visual arts.  Whilst in year 12 at the Con High, she illustrated a piano beginners book by Warren Thomson and Miriam Hyde which I still see in music shops (or at least saw relatively recently) , and for which she received absolutely no monetary payment, but merely a copy of the Oxford Companion to Music. 

That’s one of those funny things about life: that we lodge in the memories of others as we were at the time, and that others can often remember things we ourselves have forgotten or moved on from.  At least I was able to disabuse Philip of any preconception that my sister might have settled down with kids: although she has to an extent now settled down, her life remains pretty bohemian and decidedly childless and she works as a musician in London – any settling down involves the inevitable supplementation of playing gigs with an increasing amount of teaching work – this is part of the life cycle of the musician.

Oddly, whilst I was speaking to Philip, Ross Cameron, former member for Parramatta, rushed up to say hullo.  We were colleagues many years ago, though not in circumstances where he could have thought I would ever be particularly happy ever to see him again.  You have to admire some people’s nerve.

Tomorrow night I shall go for drinks with the orchestra after the concert: I was invited by one of the double bassists at interval tonight at smokers’ corner who recognized me as having come for a second night in a row.  So now I am a groupie! 

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