Fauré – Masques et Bergamasques
Bizet – Jeux d’Enfants
Chabrier – Habanera
The annual Pulham Orchestra ‘Come and Play Day’ is an opportunity for everyone to plunge in and try out some unrehearsed repertoire. Some of us were orchestra members and others were attending just for the day event.
The repertoire this year was French (not only the scheduled pieces, but also our ‘bonus’ pieces too: Fauré’s Pavane and H. Mouton’s Scenes Rustiques).
We even had some suitably sunny weather to persuade us that – just perhaps – we were somewhere rather more exotic than Pulham. However, Margery’s “think of a night in Seville”, whilst sensuously suggestive in enthusing us for the Habanera, was probably pushing it somewhat for Norfolk.We’d started with this piece to warm up – and so it proved!. The rhythm was more precise than we’d appreciated but with some practice we sharpened up considerably.
The Bizet – Jeux d’enfants (Children’s Games) – were originally piano miniatures, but fleshed out for orchestra they proved to be light-hearted gentle pieces, leading off with a rather fine Marche. The concluding, rollicking Galop felt less like a ballroom and more like the Folies Bergeres – it was busy, exhausting and great fun.
The Fauré was an hommage from the 20th century to the 18th century and based on dance suites of the earlier period (Ouverture – Menuet – Gavotte – Pastorale) in short orchestral movements. The first and third movements were the challenge here.
After lunch we kicked off with the Pavane. Although this piece has been played to death in various top 100 classic lists, it was really quite touching to hear it played ‘live’. As Margery said, the musical colours really are quite special and it was lovely to hear.
We also revelled in the merry-making in the Mouton Scenes Rustiqe which allowed plenty of scope for peasant dance rhythms to be demonstrated.
We finished with a rather faster run through of most of the pieces, giving us a chance to not only to enjoy ourselves, but also to persuade and convince ourselves of the progress made during the day. It really is remarkably impressive to realise what can be done in a day.
Our thanks go to all those involved in the organisation of the event, especially to Margery for showing patience and enthusiasm in equal measure and driving us to a successful conclusion.
M Franklin 9 March 2014