Aleksei Kiseliov Returns to London Concert Review
On a warm and dry summer’s evening in the garden of The Actors’ Church by the Piazza in Covent Garden in central London the audience gathered for preliminary Pimms or Champagne before the fourth London Firebird Orchestra concert. Before long we were in the church where every seat was taken, and soon upstanding for the arrival of the Lord Mayor and other international dignitaries.
The Orchestra opened with a less familiar Beethoven Overture and went on to the Elgar Cello Concerto. After the interval the Cyprus-born soprano, Julietta Demetriades, sung with great confidence from Wagner, although at times even her tremendous voice was overtaken by the Orchestra. They finished with Stravinsky, but gave Pomp and Circumstance as the encore - fitting at the time of Diamond Jubilee.
Marc Corbett-Weaver and Robert Spooner MBE six years ago had set up the Orpheus Sinfonia for recent graduates of music wanting ongoing experience of orchestral playing. Robert Spooner died two years ago, and Marc Corbett-Weaver, who is now 27, decided to move on and created the London Firebird Orchestra with the assistance of the celebrated Austrian born conductor Achim Holub.
So why was a music reviewer from Edinburgh in attendance? At least four good reasons.
Aleksei Kiseliov had returned to honour his orchestral roots in a promise to Marc and Achim and gave us a scintillating performance of Elgar’s Cello Concerto. Aleksei is now the Principal Cello player of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and teaches at the Scottish Conservatoire. Some of his cello students were sitting behind me.
I was sitting besides Vicky Lester’s parents and her father, himself a distinguished musician, reminded me that Vicky had spent four years at Edinburgh University learning the harp - where she excelled. She was playing a golden harp with a great history. Unfortunately her music stand spoiled our view of her, but we certainly heard her playing.
Reason three for attending was that six years ago, before returning to Edinburgh, I helped in my small way to get Marc Corbett-Weaver’s impresario career on the road - and indeed we had his Petrof concert grand in our dining room; for he is also a talented concert pianist.
I am delighted that Marc plans to join Edinburgh Guide as a Music Reviewer for part of this year’s Edinburgh International Festival.
I cannot any more attend or review concerts in London but this one was special. Everyone who performed or helped backstage, many were old friends, made it a memorable event. And every best wish for the seventy or more players, nearly all still in their early or middle twenties as their careers develop. That’s what the London Firebird Orchestra is all about.
Event: Tuesday 12 June 2012 at 7.30pm