Ealing Symphony Orchestra
St John's church is a few minutes walk from my friend's house. Last night I took her to a concert which opened her eyes to all that's available in her neighbourhood.
The Ealing Symphony Orchestra is but one of two so-called amateur orchestras in the London Borough of Ealing. The other is the West London Sinfonia. I say so-called amateur because they look and sound professional in everyway, except for the fact that the majority of the performers pay rather than get paid to participate. Most of them do not currently have careers in music, but without exception, they have all received musical training to the standards required of professional musicians.
According to the organiser Richard Patridge, who is also one of the oboeists, many members even play their second instrument if required.
What struck me about last night's performance, besides from being sold out, was the high quality of the programme notes. Since I haven't heard the three 20th century pieces, I was curious to read about them. The bassist Dominic Nudd, who works in IT, did the research and wrote the notes.
The concert opened with "A Shropshire Lad - Rhapsody" by the short-lived English composer George Butterworth.It was a melodious single movement piece that nostalgically reminded me of parts of England I had travelled in the early days.
The guest performer Simon Hewitt Jones, overall concerto winner of the 2002 Ealing Festival, came on stage with his violin. I looked forward to hearing this young virtuoso's interpretation of Prokofiev's Violin Concerto No. 2. Unfortunately, I could not contain my cough and had to make a swift exit before the first movement was finished.
In the foyer, I managed to catch the rest of the piece, after my coughing fit. Needless to say, it was impossible for me to take note the rest of the concert, namely Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra.
Luckily the programme notes were so well written that I felt I had been there nevertheless.
9 February 2003 Sunday