9 October 2015
Ravel’s Bolero is one of the most famous works for orchestra. Starting with a barely discernible snare drum rhythm, two melodies sound from various instruments in the orchestra, leading into a thrilling finale. Exploding in worldwide popularity after Torvill and Dean’s Sarajevo Winter Olympics figure skating performance which saw them receive twelve perfect 6.0 scores, Bolero is a masterful piece which appeals to both classical music afficianados and the general public alike.
The evening’s entertainment began with a lively rendition of Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1. Having recently seen the QSO perform more modern pieces which, while entertaining, did not sit as comfortably on them, it was highly enjoyable to see them put back on their classical coats. Jessica Cottis’ precise and fluid conducting was an absolute pleasure to watch, as were the considerable talents of young guest pianist Marina Yahlkakova. The sound exploded off the stage.
Bizet’s Suites 1 and 2 from L’Artisienne followed, and while no doubt popular with the romantics in the crowd, left me feeling a tad bored and fidgety towards the end. After the drama and spirit of Tchaikovsky, the more pedestrian and romantic Bizet seemed an anti-climax.
Finally, following intermission, that instantly recognisable snare drum rhythm of Bolero began, and the audience seemed to lean forward in their seats, straining to hear every note as the build up expertly continued to its most satisfying conclusion. The QSO kept perfect timing and the synchronisation was beautiful. Such technicians, when they are in their comfort zone, and strongly led. If the shouts of “Bravo!” from the crowd were anything to go by, the evening was a perfect success.