Emma Johnson and friends in Shrewsbury

Have you been to a concert somewhere in the world recently? Share your thoughts with us about the performance, the more details the better!

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Philip M
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Joined: Thu Aug 22, 2019 2:38 am

Emma Johnson and friends in Shrewsbury

Post by Philip M » Sun Mar 15, 2020 9:53 am

With concerts being cancelled all over the world (surely the UK will belatedly follow suit when Boris pronounces again on Tuesday?), I attended last night what I fear will be my last concert for 4-6 months - for that is at least how long coronavirus will be impacting (more likely till the end of 2020?).

The concert was at the United Reform Church in Shrewsbury. It was with clarinetist Emma Johnson “and friends” - the Carducci Quartet, Chris West, double bass (her husband), Emma Halnan, flute, Phil Gibbon, bassoon, Peter Francomb, horn, and Paul Clarvid, percussion.

It was compered by John Suchet, in a very “Classic FM” kind of way.

The first half consisted of Beethoven’s rarely played 6 movement Septet. What a wonderful piece this is. It is scored for violin, viola, cello, double bass, clarinet, bassoon and horn - which is precisely why it is so rarely performed live. It was given a superb performance, especially in the glorious slow movement, with its important clarinet part beautifully played by Johnson. Special mention too for Matt Denton who led the whole performance characterfully from the violin.

The second half opened with the Adagio from Schubert’s Octet. How I wish the whole of the second half had consisted of the complete Octet. However the theme of the evening was “Tales from Vienna - the Music and the Magic”, so, no doubt to get more bums on seats, there followed more “traditional” Viennese music: Strauss’ Voices of Spring Waltz, Emperor Waltz and Tritsch-Tratsch Polka, his father’s Radetzky March, Brahms’ Hungarian Dances 3 and 1, and Léhar’s Merry Widow waltz - with an encore of Perpetuum Mobile. All beautifully and loving played, with lightness and humour. Despite my preference for a complete Octet, I enjoyed it.

Finally a wish to everyone: please stay safe and healthy in these unprecedented times.

Philip

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