Eternally Elgar

Main Lecture Hall Marburg
Tuesday 31st February 2012
SSO Marburg; Akira-Sebastian Olbrich
Beethoven, Elgar, Sibelius

As some of you might have noticed, I am a huge fan of the British culture and I do really love Edward Elgar’s compositions. Especially his Cello Concerto e-minor op.85 (1919) is such a beautiful piece and thus I was practically obliged to go to the closing concert of the Student Symphony Orchestra (SSO) Marburg. Being one of the most difficult solo parts for cello I was extremely curious how Akira-Sebastian Olbrich, the soloist, would play – and I wasn’t disappointed.

Opening with Ludwig van Beethoven’s Coriolanus Overture c-minor op. 62 (1807) the orchestra made quite an entrance. The entries were precise and the tragedy of the Roman hero Coriolanus was well interpreted by the musicians. Some of the wood winds’ parts sounded a bit blurry and also the flutes were a bit flat – I probably wouldn’t have noticed if the acoustic in the main lecture hall hadn’t been so good ;)

Akira-Sebastian Olbrich (c) SSO

The main attraction for me was definitely the Elgar – of course I was aware of the fact that one couldn’t expect a new Jacqueline du Pré but I did expect quite a bit from the performance, since it’s an ambitious piece to play.  For my taste, the opening of the first movement Adagio – Moderato left too little space between the chords, but after this moment everyone could see that the 26-year-old medicine student Akira-Sebastian had the ability to really feel and provide an understanding of Elgar’s music. The runs were smooth and his technique almost impeccable, charming mellifluous sounds out of his 1904-instrument. Elgar’s melodramatic concerto always moves me to tears, his style being so light and yet deeply moving. For me, the second movement Lento – Allegro molto has a kind of British character and I do like this about his works in general very much. Both the third and the fourth movement were elegantly done, Akira’s double fingerings being extremely pinpoint.
On the whole, the orchestra did a lovely job, being precisely conducted by Ulrich Metzger, sometimes with the winds being a bit too dominant though.

However, the performance was a huge success and Akira’s play was a joy to watch and to listen to. In my opinion he showed absolutely no insecurity and had the power the piece requires.

To top the concert off the orchestra performed Jean Sibelius’s 2nd Symphone d-major op. 43 (1900-1902) in a very melodious, elegiac way. Although the horns were a bit shaky at some stage, the folksy character was marvellously conveyed, producing images of broad fjords and vikings in my head. Maybe because I was seated rather on the right hand side I noticed how talented and accurate the timpanist was – good job methinks.

The traditional film score encore featured the Spiderman theme this time, beautifully visualised by Metzger who wore a Spidey top :) Looking around the musicians I also noticed Alan Rickman playing the bass (not really, but if I hadn’t known better…). I enjoyed a delightful evening and hope to be good enough to play in an orchestra someday too.

The SSO will perform the same programme on Saturday 4 Feb 2012, same time, same place! Tickets are available in the cafeteria, the tourist office Pilgrimstein, the Musikhaus am Biegen and at the box office. 11€ / red. 5,50€ each.

(c) SSO


One thought on “Eternally Elgar

  1. Pingback: A Musical Experiment « Culture and Arts

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