BBC Wales Orchestra: exceeded all our expectations

Conductor Nicholas Collon during the performance

Conductor Nicholas Collon during the performance

THE NIGHT was guaranteed to be an amazing night of classical delights featuring music from three of German-Speaking Europe’s biggest names; however, the performance given greatly exceeded our expectations. The entire audience was captivated; and yet we were shocked to see the number of empty seats. The lack of attendance did not faze the musicians and the show went on. What a brilliant show it was. They were all so in sync. We could not spot a flaw, it was dazzling.

We were still in awe when a young man holding a violin took centre stage, looking rather like a lost sheep. However, when he began to play he was no longer lost. It was obvious why he was there.

At the interval the members of the orchestra were having a relaxing beverage. We spoke to the lead violin and trumpet, as well as young Callum Smart. When we asked how he got into the orchestra he said was invited by the orchestral director. This was obviously a good choice, as he was excellent throughout.

The aspect of orchestral music that really strikes a chord with me is its perfection. Music flows across the bodies and faces of the ensemble like an esoteric wave. Under the ever-able tutelage of Nicholas Collon, veteran of the BBC Proms and BBC and Royal Philharmonic Orchestras, the Orchestra has gone from strength to strength.

The evening began with Beethoven’s Leonore No.1 Overture, a work that premiered in 1805 and reflected his struggles to master the unfamiliar medium of Opera. This slowed the tempo in the middle to embody the turmoil of the piece.

The night continued with Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Violin Concerto No.5 in A Major, played on a 1698 Antonio Stradivari violin by 17 year old child prodigy Smart. Between 1773 and 1775 Mozart wrote and composed his violin concertos in Salzburg. This night was rare and lamentable at the same time, because music lovers have found Mozart’s decision to compose no more Violin Concerto’s once he reached his twenties extremely regrettable, given their elegance and beauty.

Our choice of language here is deliberate. The use of ‘their’ is intriguing, in that it refers to the personification of classical music, which is immortal. There is credence in such an argument. They live whilst their creators are buried next to each other in Zentralfriedhof Cemetery, Vienna.

Franz Schubert was born in the Austrian Capital in 1797. It was quite fitting then, that the concert was brought to a close by his ‘Great’ Symphony No. 9 in C Major. The piece lasted for the best part of an hour after the interval, like a long-winded gorgeous ode to great music. Inspired by a near six-month holiday in Upper Austria in 1825 whilst in remission after a bout of Syphilis, this is his musical epitaph. He was dead three years later, aged just 31. And yet, he averaged a symphony a year.

The BBC National Orchestra of Wales continued their Spring Tour in Wrexham last week on Saturday, and Llandudno on Sunday. This brought their superb mid-North Wales Tour to a close.