view from the audience - Roger Moseley
Complementing A view from the back desks, Roger Moseley describes his experiences of the recent run-through of Symphony No 2 by the Purely for Pleasure Orchestra conducted by Mark Fitz-Gerald as a member of the audience
The opportunity to hear Brian's Symphony no.2 was, for me, too good to miss and so I eagerly travelled to Reading on the day. I was very glad I did.
The orchestra, which comprises both professional and amateur musicians (and a wide range of ages), meets on one day per year 'purely for pleasure'. Bearing in mind the short amount of practice-time available, problems with the copies of the score, and HB's own admission that the symphony's movements are 'unorthodox inside', it would be most unreasonable to expect a concert-type performance, indeed it was not intended to be one. To my (amateur) ear the orchestra achieved much during the course of one day. Brian's music came through clearly for the most part. Occasional problems with balance and ensemble were to be expected, but much of HB's style and nuances shone through.
The first two movements are not Brian's easiest music (in terms of following his musical argument), and the orchestra did well to maintain the degree of forward momentum needed. The third movement was probably the highlight for me. The brass players were distributed around the hall, and it seemed that the musicians would raise the roof with a riot of brass! The fourth movement, with the Götterdämmerung references, presented some new musical challenges, especially for the strings.
The acoustic of the school hall was actually very good - dare I say, better than some London concert halls! By the way, I observed that sometimes members of the orchestra grinned at each other during the play-through - a reminder that music-making is meant to be enjoyable. I know that I enjoyed the efforts of the Purely for Pleasure Orchestra. As just one member of the HBS may I say a big thank you to Mark Fitz-Gerald and team for the invitation to attend. In the space of just a few months I have been lucky enough to hear Mr Fitz-Gerald conduct HB's 10th and 2nd symphonies!
Any chance of some more Brian next year, please?
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