Unexpected splendour of Hastings concert

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So here I was more or less against my will going to a concert of the Hastings Philharmonic Choir with a small orchestra of roughly 30 musicians, plus one conductor, called Marcio Da Silva. I was amazed to be sitting there listening and watching something I didn’t expect, a truly good performance.

The first composition was Gesang De Parzen by Johannes Brahms. I had never heard this before, but was delighted with the rendition that both the choir and the orchestra gave.

The next piece of music was the Violin Concerto by Jean Sibelius, the great composer from Finland. The first movement is marked Allegro Moderato, and it opens with a soft pianissimo of strings, which pulsate gently and rhythmically. The soloist then enters with a almost haunting melody. Low woodwind and tympani accompany the soloist in several phrasing runs. The violin then plays cadenza like arpeggios and attaching double stops while running up and down the scales. The entire movement is wrapped in several profound themes which manifest themselves towards the end of the movement.

The second movement is Adagio di Molto, and shows a very lyrical side of a very robust period of music. The third and final movement is Allegro ma non Tanto, quickish but not overly fast. This last but by no means least movement takes real technique to pull off a good performance. The rhythm is extremely hard to follow unless you have a confident conductor. The violin enters with its first theme being on the G string. This first section offers a brilliant display of virtuoso gymnastics. The clarinet and brass introduce the final section, this is upstaged by the violin playing harmonics. To this listener, it is one of the finest in the entire repertoire of violin concertos, and was performed with a beauty that could only be manifested by a top class soloist.

That soloist was Aysen Ulucan, a Turkish violinist who happens to be married to Marcio da Silva. It was a pleasure to hear her play as she gifted us all with flair, exuberance and brilliance.

Last was Johannes Brahms famous requiem, A German Requiem, performed with a delight and fervour that complimented the piece superbly.

Bravo to the choir, to the conductor, to the soloists, an extra bravo to a very young vibrant orchestra, and lastly to my wife Venka, who dragged me kicking and screaming to a concert that I most thoroughly enjoyed and will remember for a long time. Hastings and St Leonards, you have real talent with this conductor and choir, make sure you don’t let them go. I urge all and sundry to attend their next concert, wherever and whenever it is. Something special has come to the south coast, and we must all appreciate this new arrival. By Peter Georgiadis.