Postscript to the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra Schoenberg in Borden Park


Rossini: String Sonata No.2 in A major, arranged for wind and strings
Schoenberg: Chamber Symphony No.1, Op.9

members of the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra
(for full details, see previous post)

Schoenberg conducted by Alexander Prior

Borden Park, Edmonton
Sunday August 30


On a very blustery day, the trees tossing everywhere, adding their own whooshing sounds, I did indeed return to Borden park on Sunday afternoon to hear the repeat of the concert I reviewed on the Thursday.

Fascinating it was, too, because by Sunday the players had three performances of the Chamber Symphony No.2 under their belt, and I was interested to hear how they had progressed (if at all!) with such difficult music.

I had enjoyed the Thursday performance, but this one was notably more assured. The players were less hesitant at the beginning, and seemed to have a more instinctive understanding of their instrument’s roles in the overall architecture. Indeed, the overall sound was more concerted, less fragmented.

Two main strengths emerged from this. First, the many instrumental solos (highlightings might be a better way of putting it) came across with considerably more assurance and idiomatic expression. Secondly, those lyrical aspects of the work that I wrote about in my original review were much more prominent here.

This was a fine performance, with some fine individual playing – I am glad I heard both, but it will be the sounds of the Sunday performance that will linger with me.

The Rossini, too, benefitted from performance familiarity, if not to the same extent as the Schoenberg. There was yet more sense of delight and fun in playing the youthful work. Just great for a windy late summer’s day.

Once again, kudos to everyone involved for getting us back to live orchestral – albeit small orchestral! – concerts with an audience, and for having the sense and courage to program the Schoenberg.