On Thursday, the 12th of February, I went to a concert with my mum at the Royal Concert Hall in Nottingham in which the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra played with Andre Litton as their conductor and soloist Leila Josefowicz.

When we entered the concert hall, it was buzzing with the loud voices of excited audience. I was pretty excited as well. I love the last movement of the Mendelssohn Violin concerto and could not wait to listen to it again. I noticed that the orchestra was already tuning up, but the excited murmur still lingered around me. Suddenly, a silence engulfed the murmuring audience and they started to clap as the leader and the conductor of the orchestra walked onto the stage. When the orchestra started the first piece of the evening, Grieg Symphonic Dances, I was amazed. The first movement was so creative. It started very fast and then slowed down a bit. The Woodwinds and the Strings questioned and answered each other and the piece had a very clear dance like structure. It was perfectly in time and the tempo changes were clear but seemed to flow into each other. Then, the beginning was played again and the side drum had a steady beat which slowly faded away. The orchestra started again, very passionately and I felt so happy for some reason. It ended quite suddenly and materialized into the second movement. This movement was a complete and utter contrast from the first movement. The first violins had a passionate tune, and I felt as if the pings! of the triangle added freshness to the whole piece. All of a sudden, the whole piece became more exciting and the bouncy tune of the flute and the oboe, interwoven with the long notes of the lower strings (cellos and basses). I felt that the piece was thoughtful and somehow determined to do something. A long, fading note finished this movement off, and I found that I was holding my breath.

An oboe tune started the third movement, followed by a flurry of semiquavers from the upper strings. All the strings played loud and menacing chords, leading into a slightly spooky flute tune. The first violins took over from the flutes, accompanied by a strong bass pizzicato. The harmonies from the French horns held the tune together so well that I felt amazed at how Grieg had written the piece to make it sound easy, yet have such a complicated structure. Suddenly, I realised that the piece had gone back to the beginning. However, instead of going through the whole piece again, it changed and there were sudden bursts of sound every so often. There was a large crescendo and the orchestra went mad! Semiquavers, scales, a loud tune from the strings and brass while the flutes had semiquavers, and then the movement ended with chords and the orchestra and the hall were silent. The last movement had a hint of the third movement at the beginning as the cello had a melancholy tune with brass chords, but it quickly resolved into a jolly dance. It was like playing hide and seek. The piece was lively, and then passionate and then lively, and then passionate and so on. A dramatic middle with violin tune and brass question and answer took over and then there was an outburst of triplets and scales and sequences. The whole of the Symphonic Dances ended with two chords. A perfect cadence. Even though I was not even playing, I felt out of breath, and nearly laughed out loud at all the bright red faces looking towards me from the audience as everyone around me, clapped and clapped and clapped.

Then, the soloist came on. Leila Josefowicz was dressed in a light pink dress and looked very calm and a figure of authority on the stage. When she started, I was astounded!!! Her bow was so smooth, gliding effortlessly, and she made the 1st movement of the Mendelssohn violin concerto seem almost easy. Her fingers flew up and down the fingerboard with ease and her cadenza left me breathless. All the harmonics and double stop were so clear and when the piece got faster, I was surprised that she could even keep up, considering all the notes she had to memorize!! She must have practised a lot, but, she made it seem like she was not thinking about the notes at all. I felt as if the orchestra was sometimes too loud because I could not hear the soloist very well, but I enjoyed it all the same. Then, there was passion, flare, trills, flowing staccato, double stops, semiquavers, all leading to a sudden, but glorious end. The audience burst around me, their hands moving like the Hummingbird’s wings, and I realised that I too was clapping a lot. Leila Josefowicz received a bouquet of flowers, bowed a final time, and left the stage. I hope that I will be able to play this well one day.

After a 20 minute break, a timpani roll started the Symphony No. 1 by Walton. A semiquaver and quaver pattern emerged in the second violins and the trumpets and soon more instruments joined in. A strong cello and bass tune followed and then a tremolo canon was passed down the strings starting in the first violins, there was a loud drum roll and then the end of the first movement. There was a strong brass tune and timpani rolls to start the second movement off with, followed by strings and woodwind with trills and detaché. Then, it all repeated again. There was a sudden stop, as if it was the end, but the piece started again. There were loud brass chords and then the second movement ended. The third movement was started by the first desk of the strings with pizzicato, which slowly built up right to the back of all the sections. This movement was a complete contrast from the others and it was peaceful, yet tense. The leader of the cellos had a solo, and I finally found the word I was looking for- soulful!! The last movement was lively. The brass had chords in between the string tune, followed by woodwind harmonies. All the instruments interwove around the tune in the strings and there was a sudden end. Clapping exploded around me, and the orchestra bowed. The concert hall filled with the sound of the audience clapping wildly, enraptured at the end of a magical evening.

Prishita Maheshwari, aged 12

Prishita's concert was held at the Royal Concert Hall, Nottingham on 12th February 2009. The Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Andrew Litton, conductor Leila Josefowicz, violin.

They performed : Grieg - Symphonic Dances, Mendelssohn - Violin Concerto and Walton -Symphony no. 1