Tonight I'm looking forward to seeing another enthusiastic UNICEF supporter in concert at the Usher Hall, in Edinburgh... Nicola Benedetti, who as many of you will know is currently touring the UK, ("Benedetti Plays Tchaikovsky").
I'm looking forward to a spectacular evening of music!
Tonight's Concert forms part of the RSNO Season 2005/06 series of performances. This second performance of three this month, follows the programme from the previous evening at Aberdeen's Music Hall. The concluding performance of this month takes place at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall on Saturday 25th March.
Attendance looks full tonight. The whole Edinburgh audience is lulled into a hush as Dutch conductor Jav Van Steen takes to the stage and introduces the RSNO. We are informed that tonight "we will later be joined by the appearance of a very special soloist" too. A applause of great anticipation follows. We are also advised that immediately following the Concert, "William Chandler, (Associate Leader) First Violinist will be conducting an informal discussion with "Nicky" on stage, immediately afterwards. You are all most welcome to come forward to the front, to listen if you wish".
The RSNO proceed to perform a bright and lively rendition of Mendlessohn's 'Hebrides Overture'. This piece connotates rolling waves, rocking calmly one moment and crashing against the rocks at another. The excitement leading up to Nicola's stage appearance, builds through the rendition of this dynamic piece.
A very composed Nicola enters onto the stage, adorned in a full length ivory coloured satin dress. She acknowledges an adoring audience with a sparkling smile as she takes her stance to recite Violin Concerto Op35 in D major. The orchestral introduction to this piece is deliberately understated, in contrast to Nicola's first few soloist notes of passion, which soar to the peak of a highly emotional moment with impetus. The orchestra provides an exceptional background lift of melody as this soloist glides to the heights she was born to play. She plays from memory. Witnessing Nicola's playing is like watching a graceful bird gliding on the thermals of a powerful wind over an ocean. She demonstrates sheer dexterity and control. The delivery of this piece is full-blooded and coherent. It flows with sensitivity through a slow movement, before returning to a vigourous finale with reassuring ease.
Nicola really makes a powerful impression on the hearts and minds of this audience. She delivers this piece to rapturous applause. She is presented with a yellow mixed floral posey. The audience convey their appreciation and she returns to the stage in customary manner with the conductor at least four or five times, before the interval concludes the first half of the Concert.
The RSNO return to the stage with a recital of Dvorak's Symphony No 7 Op70 (B141) in D minor The introduction is slow with a "gentle exlosion of trills over a warm whispering string accompaniment". According to the Concert Programme, the first movement of this piece owes its inspiration (derived from the composer's notes) to an express train. This piece although described as "not his most revolutionary" piece, was however one which Dvorak intended to "stir the world" with. An influence of Brahms is evident in this piece. The finale conveys optimism in this very dramatic piece.
Approximately 200 members of the audience remain seated in the auditorium for the "Discussion Session" between Nicola and William Chandler. William introduces Nicola to the audience once again, before asking her some informal questions about her career and other interests. Nicola conveys the impression of being very friendly and very "down to earth". Members of the audience are encouraged to ask Nicola a question or two. The first question was asked by a lady sitting 3 seats away from me on the 1st row. She asked Nicola how she had managed to maintain such composure all evening and "Did she practice yoga?" Nicola laughed in amusement but put her composure down to her love of music and playing the violin was what "made her happy". Sitting in the front row seemed like a "less scary" place for asking questions, so I asked Nicola if she recorded herself playing whilst practising. Nicola replied that indeed she did and found that this proved to be a very beneficial. She commented, "Sometimes I listen to myself and think that can't be me- I'm not as bad as that!" She did however seem delighted with her second ever performance of the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto tonight, though." I really think this is the best I've ever played before" she said. Several other members of the audience asked a question each before Nicola's Manager (Steve Abbott - Also Hayley's Manager), provided her with a cue that it was time to leave. Immediately a queue formed for autographs at the front of the stage. Nicola signed several, before explaining that she wouldn't have time to sign for everyone. Steve then appeared and beckoned people to form a queue through one of the side exits of the auditorium. At this point I followed Steve and had a brief discussion with him before he searched for a table for Nicola to lean on and I sourced a piano stool for her to sit on. We returned with these items to find Nicola smiling and chatting to people, whilst she leant against the wall to sign autographs. She seemed very bubbley when we returned to her with the stool and table!
I waited until quite a lot of people had left, before I asked Nicola to sign one of the pictures in my book of scanned newspaper articles which I had acquired. Below you will see an image of this scanned picture from the book, which Nicola signed for me:
Thank you Andrew for your report on Nicola Benedetti. I too am a fan of the girl. Raises the question when I was thinking of someone else as an alternative to Fiona Pears in past posts, were Hayley wanting to run that type of concert again but Fiona wasn't' available. Hayley and Nicola are within a year of one another's ages, I think? That could be a different but very interesting type of concert, especially if Hayley is leaning towards opera more now, as Richard, I think, suggested in a post on 'through the keyhole'?
Her eyes were the blue of cornflowers that dance amongst ripening wheat, Her hair the colour of golden sands bleached by summer's heat.
Many thanks for your encouraging feedback, Re: my Concert Review. Attending the concert really was an incredible experience, to say the very least. I'm really looking forward to the release of Nicola's new album! i.postimg.cc/9fYxy370/smilie-big-grin.gif
Peter, you are quite right Re: Hayley and Nicola's ages. Nicola is only 3 months younger than Hayley!