All Saints West Dulwich
The Dulwich Symphony Orchestra brought its 2022 season to a triumphant close with a performance of three 19th century favourites: Berlioz Carnaval Romain, Schumann Piano Concerto and Tchaikovsky’s fervent Symphony no 2. The evening concert was conducted by Dwight Pile-Gray, with the Keyboard Trust’s own Adam Heron as soloist before a packed house.
Adam responded to the many pianistic demands of this densely-written Concerto with, by turns, finely-detailed articulation, soaring melodic lines and forthright conviction. Most notable was how Dwight Pile-Gray skilfully wove soloist and orchestra into close musical dialogue – ‘like chamber music’, as Adam noted later. During the long solos, the players maintained their rapt involvement. The verdict was both rapturous and unanimous: ‘It’s my favourite concerto! ‘Adam must return!’.
Two other features of the programme extended our horizons. It was a special fundraising concert in aid of the British Red Cross Ukraine Crisis Appeal. Prayer for Ukraine by Mykola Lysenko was performed most movingly in its original 1885 version – and in Russian – by the All Saints Choir after which we heard a stirring version for orchestra arranged by the Music Director at All Saints, Ruth Holton.
We were also privileged to hear two outstanding artists who champion Black Classical Music. In a week where, sadly, racism has made news, I am happy to report that in West Dulwich, only the music matters…..
Tchaikovsky’s sister went to live near Kiev after her marriage and Pyotr visited most years, finding the peace to compose and also inspiration in Ukrainian folk tunes, a number of which feature in his Symphony no 2. Its nickname Little Russian is no longer acceptable and was sensitively omitted from the programme. Dwight Pile-Gray drew a committed, passionate performance from the orchestra with fine solos from the woodwind and brass sections and thrilling pyrotechnics from the percussion.
Programme notes from Frances Barrett, Adam Heron and Jeremy Crump added vital information and this final message:
‘Our thoughts in playing this music are with those who have suffered, and our hopes are for peace to return’.
ANGELA RANSLEY IS DIRECTOR OF THE HARMONY SCHOOL OF PIANOFORTE AND LIVES IN WEST DULWICH.