Sunday, June 16, 2013

10th anniversary concert of Dubai Chamber Orchestra

The Dubai Chamber Orchestra celebrated their 10th anniversary on Thursday with a special free concert at Saudi German Hospital. Convenient for me, as it's right in my neighborhood, although it was strange to walk through the corridors of a hospital to find a concert venue. Acoustically and aesthetically, the hall was actually a good one, especially considering the kind of facility for which it had been built. Air conditioning, though, was somewhat insufficient, and there were a lot of people packed in there on that rather warm night.

Conductor Barnaby Priest spoke between some of the pieces about the orchestra's operation and challenges, such as being in a place with a mostly transient population. On that note, he congratulated three musicians who had been in the orchestra from its nascency, and had them cut the orchestra's birthday cake. Clarinetist Andrea Gould joined the orchestra for the second piece, and Priest's own composition, "Needs Must" was featured as the third. The piece that sounded most thoroughly-rehearsed, though, was Dmitri Shostakovich's "Chamber Symphony Op 110a", played right after the interval. Most pieces on the program that night were somewhat somber in tone, but the modern-era Percy Grainger composition "Molly on the Shore" made for a nicely folksy end to the evening, along with the uplifting encore.

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