Dvorak Romance in F minor for Violin and Orchestra
On Sunday the 15th January, I took part in the fourth annual OCMS Orchestral Day, held at Charterhouse School in Surrey. Each year, past pupils from Charterhouse who have either gone on to become professional musicians or continued to play to a good amateur standard meet at the school and spend an afternoon preparing for a concert to be performed in the school Hall the same evening. Participants range from recent leavers to those who attended the school many years ago. Each time, we hold a collection for a good cause and this year, our concert was in aid of the Phyllis Tuckwell Hospice , for which we are delighted to have raised a much needed £2500.
The concert started with a distinguished performance of the first movement of Mozart’s 20th Piano Concerto in D minor (K. 466). This piece requires a delicacy as well as a restless turbulence that the soloist Matt Shipton (brother of Bill who organises the event) performed with real musicianship.
Next on the programme was a performance of Dvorak’s Romance in F minor for Violin and Orchestra (Op. 11) with myself as soloist (see the video below). I have to admit that for me , this work fell into the category of overly-familiar violin pieces that I wasn’t too interested in learning. I soon discovered that I was completely wrong and that this piece of music is masterful in all respects. Dvorak could write memorable melodies effortlessly, but it is the abundant harmonic richness that marks out this piece. He manages to suffuse the main melody with so many different shades that we as listeners go through a whole array of emotions from yearning and pathos to exultation. Dvorak may occasionally appear too easy on the ear but this work proves he was one of the immortals!
The programme then sandwiched the Faure Pavane between Sibelius’s ‘Finlandia’ ana Wagner’s Prelude to ‘Die Meistersingers Von Nurnberg. Both of these received rousing performances under the baton of John Landor (who rehearsed us efficiently and gave us confidence to really commit ourselves to the music). Many audience members were surprised that the whole concert had been rehearsed in a meagre 4 hours and were impressed by the standard. A memorable and day was experienced by orchestra and audience alike and we are very much looking forward to playing another concert together in the Autumn.