Southbank Sinfonia have been on sparkling form during this week’s Anghiari Festival, so sparkling, in fact, that the adjective does not remotely do justice to what we have heard. The energy and verve of this incarnation of the one-year-only orchestra really has to be experienced to be believed, and the string sound in performances of works by Shostakovich and Tchaikovsky has been lustrous to the point of lushness.
All of that is good news if you happen to be a composer who has written for strings and is fortunate enough to have them perform your work…so I am looking forward to tonight’s performance of against the pull of silence with a touch of nervousness about the reaction it will get from the audience, but genuine excitement at the prospect of having it performed by this group. Anghiari has all but disappeared from view this morning, though, shrouded by cloud, so I am doing my rain dance in reverse in the hope that things will clear up before this evening.
The bulk of the Festival is now behind us, the point reached where many of us are waking up already tired, but I think it is fair to say that the event has been a success. From opera to orchestral to chamber to vocal, there has been something for everybody, and the standard from SBS and friends has been outstanding across the board, and I make no apology for going on about it.
Tonight’s concert will also feature Mendelssohn’s Lobgesang, performed in my Latin version, and featuring many local singers. I have taken three rehearsals with this group, augmented by friends who have travelled out for the Festival, hope it will be a hugely enjoyable performance, and I know that it is of great importance for those who are native to the area to be a part of the event.
I said to somebody earlier in the week, as a concert venue was shifted because of rain and Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto drifted magically from a balcony, that those who are involved in events such as these are not merely making music but creating memories. Were you there when they had to shift the opera gala to that magical jewel of a theatre and they gave that thrilling performance of Tchaikovsky’s Serenade For Strings? I was, and I will be there today and tomorrow as well for more.