I am ashamed to admit that after living in Ealing for almost 20 years that I saw my first performance by the Ealing Symphony Orchestra last night. What a fool! They were great. I hadn’t really noticed them before until the Mayor, the lovely Ealing version Diana Pagan, not the horrid London version, had some tickets and I was quickest to say that I would take them. It is a good sized band and their conductor, John Gibbons, was impressive if you ignore the fact that he made his first entrance and then realised that he had left the right score in the car.
Although many will have come across Rodrigo’s Adagio from his Concierto de Aranjuez before, it is one of those Classic FM standards, the rest of the programme was very fresh and well chosen. John Adams’ The Chairman Dances from Nixon in China was a demanding piece, well executed. It was great to hear the Adagio in the context of the whole concerto with a good young guitar soloist, Morgan Szymanski. A piece by Karl Jenkins called Passacaglia was written as a memorial and was a moving, short string piece. Finally, they did Malcolm Arnold’s 1st Symphony. It was perhaps a demanding finale for the audience and it is not the kind of thing I would play for myself but it was an insight into the dark side of a composer who is usually thought of as being a film composer.
Anyway I will definitely be going again to see ESO again. At £10 a performance it is a steal. Although last night’s programme was all 20th century don’t be put off, they do quite a mixture. They are playing again locally in February and May, see programme. Go and see them.