Twice in one month

In general, I don’t get out to nearly as many live gigs as I’d like (not counting ones I’m playing in myself – on that front, things are relatively quiet at the moment but I’m quite enjoying the semi-break from the hectic gigging schedule of the last few years).

However, I’ve now been to two concerts in the space of a fortnight and enjoyed them both immensely.

The first was the baroque opera Egisto that I’ve already written about.  The other was a performance of Mendelssohn’s Elijah given by Cantorion Menai at Bangor Cathedral this evening (actually, technically it was yesterday evening as I notice it’s just past midnight).

I was vaguely aware of the existence of this work, an oratorio on the biblical story of Elijah (as the name suggests), but had not (as far as I’m aware) heard any of it when a friend gave me a ticket a few weeks ago for tonight’s performance.  Since then, I got hold of a double CD of songs by Kathleen Ferrier, which happened to include a couple of arias from Elijah.  So, I had heard a bit of it before this evening, but not very much.

This performance was in English.  Although Mendelssohn apparently started working on the oratorio in his native German, as you might expect, he apparently received a commission from the Birmingham Festival for an oratorio so he had it translated by a chap called William Bartholomew and it was the English version that premiered first (which is possibly an oxymoron, depending on whether or not you consider the English Elijah and the German Elias to be one work or two – this parenthetical thought is, aside from anything else, probably fairly strong proof that I need to stop blogging and go to bed).

Having now made the acquaintance of Elijah I hope to have much more exposure to this work in the future and to get to know it rather better.

Incidentally, according to Wikipedia the orchestra for which Elijah is scored includes an ophicleide (a wonderful – although apparently very difficult to play – instrument that I once got an opportunity to see in a concert/lecture, along with a bunch of serpents).  Sadly they didn’t have one in tonight’s line-up, although there was a treble soloist (one of the Bangor cathedral choristers, judging by his costume) in addition to the four soloists mentioned by Wikipedia.  I haven’t yet had a chance to check out the score to see how much either ophicleides or juvenile singers feature.