|Portrait from the brochure|
Once everyone was seated inside the theatre, Jenny gave an introductory speech. Next the audience rose for the RPO playing God Save the Queen. Under Andrew Litton's baton the RPO's first-half performance, Tchaikovsky's Pathétique Symphony No 6 was a delight. Some people couldn't restrain themselves from applauding the uproarious Allegro Molto Vivace before the exquisite, painful beauty of the last movement, the Adagio Lamentoso.
After tea or coffee and more canapés in the VIP garden, we went back to our balcony seats. Nigel & Andrew Litton came onto the stage together, Nigel having changed into black trousers, white shirt & a baggy waistcoat covered by a 3/4 length sleeved black jacket bearing an emblem on the right hand upper arm.
In his traditional way Nigel got the audience all laughing. He told us he'd bumped into a wife and her “huge geezer” husband earlier who were celebrating their wedding anniversary at the event. The couple turned out to be on the front row so after putting his knuckles against the huge geezer’s and kissing the woman's hand, Nigel played "Here comes the bride" but then mischievously he turned it into a dirge!
Nigel gave a bit of background to the Concerto, jokingly saying he'd written an amazingly erudite programme note about Frit Kreisler's cadenza. However Nigel announced he'd changed his mind - wasn't playing Kreisler's after all but instead was going to "try my hand at my own bit of shit!"
Following banter with Andrew Litton - they were school mates at what Nigel calls the
His happy chappy, laid-back persona vanished as he put the bow to his strings. He exuded confidence taking instant control and literally stamping his own mark on the flamboyant, dynamic entrance. It was a sheer delight witnessing the contrast from the grand, majestic opening to the delicate, lyrical tune on his violin then intertwining momentarily with the flute, then soaring to the rafters.
Nigel’s absolute love for the music and mastery of his craft, his connection with Andrew and the RPO was blatant to see and hear. A highly physical performance with both Nigel and Andrew’s bodies caught up. At times Nigel’s legs going rigid, stamping to his playing; Andrew actually jumping into the air with the baton! This wasn’t mere showmanship as I was told they’d fully immersed themselves in the same way during the afternoon rehearsal.
|A fabulous end to a wonderful evening|
|Post concert wearing his beloved Aston Villa shirt|