Wow! What a fabulous concert! It has been a long time since I have heard good orchestral music in Oxford. To be frank with you I had almost given up, resting my ears in the orchestral paradises of either London, Paris or Odessa. But tonight really I was not disappointed! It started with Bartók's suite from The Miraculous Mandarin, a striking piece of work that, apparently, as a ballet, created a scandal at the time (thank you Wikipedia). I was particularly struck by the dynamics and the precision of the orchestra, beautifully directed by the Venezuelan conductor Natalia Luis-Bassa. This music, performed for the first time in 1926, is for a huge orchestra and it is a great feast for the ears! I was particularly touched by the sound of the woodwinds - oboe, cor anglais, bassoon and double bassoon - which sounded similar to the French way of playing. Shostakovich's Tenth Symphony was performed some time after Stalin's death and it is said (thank you, again, Wikipedia) that the rather rough second movement is a portrait of Stalin himself. Once again a huge orchestra, one again the delight of hearing the different masses of sounds - the brass, the strings, the woodwinds, the percussion. I really liked the acid sound of the flute doubled by the piccolo, a signature feature in some of Shostakovich's works. A great evening. Now I am definitely addicted to the Oxford University Orchestra and I will come back!
Lucile Deslignères (DI User), 18/02/12
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