It is the first time I have ever seen the Kensington Symphony Orchestra (KSO) perform live. Now, having seen them, I can say it is worthwhile having a go and seeing what they can truly do. They have been dubbed ‘one of the very best amateur groups in the country’ by Classical Music Magazine and in this week’s concert at the St John’s Smith Square the KSO certainly lived up to their reputation.
As you know, I’m not classically trained in music, therefore, I could never comment on any musical score in detail, yet I can be honest about the audience experience. I had little knowledge about the pieces the KSO had scheduled in for the evening’s programme, yet I often find that it is far more interesting coming to any event with no expectations. That way, you won’t go away, too, disappointed.
The KSO devoted the night to celebrate Danish composer Carl Nielsen’s 60th birthday celebration of his ‘Sinfonia Semplice’, namely his Sixth Symphony – his most challenging and hard-to-grasp symphony, according to Copenhagen critics at the time of its premiere in 1925. The ironically titled symphony ‘Simple Symphony’ (I’ll explain why later) was the main event for the concert. However, the first performance of the night – Nielsen’s 1927 Overture: An Imaginary Journey to the Faroe Islands – was far more compelling and captivating by contrast to his Sixth Symphony.