24 November 2012

Make me smile

Until this evening, I have never been to a concert where the soloist was hidden behind his instrument: but then again, I have never previously heard and seen the Vaughan Williams tuba concerto played live.

It's a work that appealed to me the moment I learnt of its existence. The sheer craziness of writing a concerto for such an instrument attracted me to it, and I first heard it (I think) on a 10" LP from Hartlepool Music Library, where it accompanied one of the symphonies. It always makes me smile, and I smiled throughout the performance this evening. At the end, the soloist and the conductor were both grinning too.

Ed Leech, the tuba player, looks - in the nicest way - as if he had been made to play that instrument. He has the sort of face that could not possibly be seen bent over a violin. A delicate woodwind instrument would be lost in it. Even a trombone would appear to be on the wrong scale. And he played it brilliantly, or so it seemed to me. Perhaps the limits of the solo repertoire for the tuba mean that a player is bound to be pretty familiar with the VW, but even so he did a fine job. As did Rachael and the rest of the orchestra. I have only one small complaint: the soloist and the conductor saw fit not to wear evening dress, while the orchestra - the performers appearing for nothing - were immaculately turned out as they should be. I do think that the (presumably) professionals should have matched the efforts of the amateurs.


Edward Leech said...

Thank you for your kind words...I'll wear a mask next time.

Peter Groves said...

Thanks to you for the excellent music!