I got to achieve a lifetime goal in March - playing the timpani part in Beethoven's 5th Symphony in a electrifying performance with Marlborough Concert Orchestra. It's such a familiar piece to concert-goers, music-lovers, and the general public. I guess it's probably one of the best known pieces in the classical repertoire. Even people who'd never go to an orchestral concert will recognise at least the opening.
It's only when playing it for the first time this month that I was really struck by Beethoven's rhythmic drive. The sheer energy and fury of the piece are overwhelming. I can only imagine what a Viennese audience 200 years ago made of this revolutionary work. Now the trouble with being a composer, is you always listen as a composer, so I found myself thinking "How does Beethoven do it? How does he build these huge structures from simple patterns?" It's definitely something I want to explore in more depth. Does the Beethovian, motivic approach even work in post-tonal music?
At the other end of the spectrum, it was great to have the opportunity to conduct the premiere of the flute choir arrangement of my choral piece "Da Pacem Domine" with Newbury Flute Choir. Their director, Benjamin Copeman, is such a supporter of new music, and of my music in particular. I was so honoured to be asked to direct the performance so Ben could play himself. Check out the video - I think the flautists did a fantastic job. Get in touch if your flute choir would like the music - happy to send you a file.
I can't forget to mention performing in the Royal Albert Hall with Berkshire Maestros, a lovely first engagement with the delightful North Wiltshire Symphony Orchestra, and a very erm, interesting, time at my first Brass Band Area Championships playing with Cold Ash Brass. What a lovely bunch, but what an arcane process!
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