Friday, May 15, 2009

The Carnival at the Circus

Last night saw the New London Orchestra present it's second concert in Newham at the Stratford Circus. The programme featured lots of English dance music including Grainger's Shepherd's Hey and Holst's arrangements of Morris Dance tunes including English Country Gardens. Of course the highlight of the evening was The Carnival of the Animals with the wonderful Murray Melvin reading the poems by Ogden Nash, which went down a storm. Also playing both in the Carnival and also in a fantastic performance of Ravel's La Valse were two students from Trinity College of Music, Matthew McCombie and Yoon-Seok Shin. These guys are incredible, so many notes I could barely keep up, and I was page turning for Yoon which was pretty nerve wracking!

This concert was in a new venue for us, as we explore different options in Stratford to find somewhere that feels right and creates the accessible and friendly atmosphere we want at New London Orchestra concerts. Stratford Circus was a real winner last night. We were getting all the right feedback, including things like "I felt like I could reach out and touch the orchestra" and "really informal" and "so glad it was brought local to our borough." Gary and his staff were absolute stars and really accommodating as this was a first for them having an orchestra come in, so big thanks to everyone at Stratford Circus.
Hugely successful and firmly in our plans for a come back, was the text poll for the audience to choose the encore for the night's concert. After hearing the Carnival of the Animals we offered the choice of three of the most popular as well as a mystery piece. Winning by far though was the Fossils, and once we'd found our pianists (!) we performed it as an encore. However the secret Ron let the audience in on was that the piece that we'd selected as the 'Mystery' option (one of Ron's arrangement of a Purcell piece called Lilliburlero) we couldn't have played, as I had brought the wrong music!!
Ron reminded the audience about our website and this blog, so if you're reading this and you were at the concert, make sure you post a comment to tell us what you thought of the night.


  1. We were there last night (2 adults and 3 children under 12) and had a lovely time. We came because we really enjoyed the concert at the Rex. We loved Murray Melvin. It was a toss up between the Grainger and the Britten as to what was the adults' favourite piece. Our children and friends' children who were also in the audience had great fun humiliating the adults by demonstrating their vastly superior texting skills when taking part in the vote. Thanks to all concerned for a nice and, for us, very local night out.

  2. Hi! Thanks so much for your comment, we're absolutely thrilled you enjoyed the concert. Creating a local event is exactly what we're after, so please keep checking our website for more plans. Hopefully see you on 9th June at the Rex for In Training, our concert of sporting anthems!