Monday, December 6, 2010

Vivaldi, Elgar and Cricket

You’d have to work hard to find a link between Vivaldi and the game of cricket, although less so with Elgar – the handlebar moustache and empire building profile suggest a keen interest in the game.  My link with these things came late on day two of the second test between England and Australia.  The inability of Australia’s bowlers to take a wicket, or the fielders to hold a catch or effect a run out, not to mention the 37 degree temperature at the ground, suggested some other form of entertainment might be in order.  I’d tried to get hold of some tickets for the ASO’s Vivaldi performance some months ago* – both concerts sold out and no chance of a third – and was delighted (and relieved) to see that a block of tickets and been re-released earlier that day.  Hence an early end to the cricket.  Even herself, a pronounced cricket tragic, was happy to call it a day.

As for the concert – terrific – in particular soloist James Ehnes, who seemed to be very much in control, and made it all look pretty easy.  The program listed him as both soloist and conductor, and he did in fact conduct the Elgar piece (Serenade for Strings), as he wasn’t required to play.  However, for Vivaldi and Beethoven (two of his romances rounded out the program) the orchestra were pretty much left to their own devices, and the performance (especially that of the concertmaster) did them a great deal of credit.

So just to prove that every cloud has a silver lining, if it weren’t the unending horror of the Australian XI’s on-field performance we’d have missed this concert, and that would have been a pity.

* this concert scored just 1.5 on the repertoire safety index.

** Q. When the English cricket team tours South Africa, where do they stay?    A. At home.

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