A pleasingly large audience given the present worries enjoyed the concert given by the Isle of Wight Symphony Orchestra last Saturday.
The concert held at the Medina Theatre featured a programme of Russian music, two rarely performed works and an old favourite. The concert opened with an early work by Rachmaninov, his Caprice Bohemian or Gypsy Fantasia. The work originally written for two pianos uses several gypsy tunes and in its orchestrated version provides fun for all – especially the percussion section.
There then followed the highlight of the evening for many, the return of internationally renown pianist Viv McLean to perform the first Piano Concerto by Tchaikovsky. Mr McLean showed complete mastery of the instrument and great musicality throughout. The orchestra provided a beautiful accompaniment. The conclusion of the concerto brought rapturous applause from the very appreciative audience.
After the interval there was just the one work, the First Symphony by Balakirev. Although Balakirev began the composition of the symphony in 1864, it was not completed for the first performance until 1898. The four movement work is large in many ways. It calls for a large orchestra (with prominent harp) and is a long work (maybe too long?).
The orchestra coped superbly with what is not standard repertoire. The next concert is scheduled for May 16th again at the Medina Theatre. It is hoped this will go ahead, but with the medical situation changing on a daily basis this is under constant review.