Today I was at the Walthamstow Assembly Hall for a concert given by Forest Philharmonic Orchestra under conductor Mark Shanahan! For it was not just any concert, but a proper concert with a proper programme – none of your puerile Classic FM playlist: Edward Elgar’s Cello Concerto in E minor, Op. 85, and Anton Bruckner’s Symphony № 7 in E minor! Definitely not a concert to be missed, unless you wanted to kick yourself later.
I had a superb view from the balcony: here were the orchestra members awaiting their conductor and the soloist for the Elgar concerto, Gemma Rosefield:
From where I was sitting I could see all the players: 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 4 horns, 2 trumpets, 3 trombones, 1 tuba, timpani, 14 first violins, 15 second violins, 10 violas, 11 cellos (not including the soloist), and 6 double basses. (Yes, more second violins than first violins, and more cellos than violas.) That was for the Elgar; for the Bruckner, the brass section consisted of 4 horns, 4 Wagner tubas, 4 trumpets, 4 trombones, 1 tuba, with triangle and cymbals joining the percussion section in the slow movement. (Wikipedia says 3 trumpets, 3 trombones – but I definitely saw 4 trumpets, 4 trombones.) And the cymbals came in too early! I am familiar enough with this work, one of my favouritest symphonies, so the premature entry of the cymbals took me quite by surprise – almost shock!
Apart from that slip by the cymbalist, it was as excellent a performance of both works as I could have wished for getting my money’s worth. Well done, Forest Philharmonic.