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ROOKIE REVIEW: Orchestra of the Swan 2015/16 Peter Donohoe plays Shostakovich

Rookie Review, Sadia Parveen spent the evening at Town Hall watching the Orchestra of the Swan with Peter Donohoe play Mozart, Shostakovich and Tchaikovsky. Check out her review.

Upon entering the Town Hall with a friend of mine, I felt a little out of place as we seemed to be the only students at Orchestra of the Swan event. However, as soon as we entered the hall, that soon seemed irrelevant as we were awestruck by not only the size of the venue but also the stage where the Orchestra of the Swan and Peter Donohoe would perform. The elegance and sophistication of the afternoon was entirely breath-taking and I was pleased to have been able to witness such great performances.

The conductor, David Curtis gave a brief introduction to the pieces that the Orchestra of the Swan would perform and also a little information about the stage the composers were at when they had written the pieces. I found it extremely interesting to learn that Mozart wrote Symphony no. 29 when he was only two weeks away from becoming eighteen years old. This seems to be a great achievement and also showed that classical music is for people of all ages.

As a fan of Mozart’s Symphony no. 29, I was eager to hear the Orchestra of the Swan perform this piece and I was delighted with their recital. Peter made his entrance for Shostakovich’sPiano Concerto no. 1 and was greeted to a huge round of applause. I was quite eager to see him perform as I had previously read into his life, so I held great expectations. Needless to say, I was not disappointed. This was by far my most favourite pieces of the afternoon and I can see why it was the headline of the show.

Each piece lasted for roughly half an hour with an exception for Tchaikovsky’sAndante Cantabile which was performed after the interval and lasted around 10-15 minutes. There was a brief interval after two pieces allowing me to confer with my friend about the show thus far. Both of us felt that the show was extremely relaxing but engaging at the same time, and was a welcome respite in the middle of the week from hours spent on studying and work.
The concert concluded with another piece by Mozart, this time it was his Piano Concerto K414. This performance was truly outstanding and Peter’s sublime performance captured the entire audience’s attention. His ability to perform note perfect whilst still maintaining his composure is to be admired thoroughly. What truly fascinated me was the violinists who not only performed with sheer brilliance, but also held such fine composure that their actions were a performance in themselves. Their delicate but swift movements seemed angelic at times and along with Peter, they truly stood out.

If I had the chance, I would definitely attend an event similar to this again. Being able to sit back and enjoy the live performance of such classical music by the exceptionally talented Orchestra of the Swan alongside Peter Donohoe is a moment I will not forget. I would recommend this show to anyone who appreciates great music and wishes for a peaceful break in between their busy lives.

Sadia Parveen is an English Literature student and a PR and Marketing assistant, working closely with the staff and students in the School of English, at Birmingham City University to source the best possible content for prospective students as well as the students currently studying within the School. Sadia also works as a freelance writer, having written for the student magazine, an online literary magazine as well as an online fashion website. Sadia looks forward to reviewing many shows for THSH and believes this is a really valuable opportunity for everyone that is involved. She enjoys many different genres of music ranging from classical to pop and hip-hop.