"the gross and scope of my opinion ..." Hamlet I,1.
Sunday, June 30, 2013
QUEEN AND COUNTRY
Symphony Orchestra Summer Concert at Christ Church
programme of 20th century British music to mark the 60th
anniversary of the Queen's Coronation.
its heart, a piece to celebrate that June day in 1953 – Malcolm
Arnold's Homage to the Queen, a suite from the ballet premièred that
night at Covent Garden. Not a piece I've heard before; there are
evident influences, not least Walton in the pomp of the fanfares, but
Arnold's genial wit shines through. Superbly played by the ESO under
Tom Hammond, relishing the different styles of the four elements:
brass tongues of flame, singing strings, the celeste for water, winds
for the air.
programme began with Elgar's Sea Pictures, with mezzo Marie Elliott
an imposing presence. Beautifully sung, too, the poignant In Haven
[words by Elgar's wife Alice], the ethereal, other-worldly Where
Corals Lie, and the impassioned Swimmer.
Williams' London Symphony ended the concert. Like the Elgar, it was
played with assured style by the ESO, conjuring up the Edwardian
capital in all its moods. Rich, dark string tone, with evocative,
atmospheric solos from horn, cor anglais, and in the sombre Epilogue,
an exquisite phrase from the violin of leader Philippa Barton before
the music disappears into the dusk.