Review of Concert 5 July 2008
Review of our concert, Saturday July 5th 2008 (from Kentish Gazette):
"a concert full of delicate playing and gentle nuance"
Splendid trip to the countryside
The Canterbury Orchestra, under their conductor Andrew Lowen, brought the joys of the countryside to the audience in St Peter's Methodist Church, Canterbury on Saturday in a concert full of delicate playing and gentle nuance.
Most of the programme was pastoral music, with the exception of the opening Wasps overture by Vaughan Williams. It was taken at impressive speed and the strings, confidently led by Chris Brown, coped splendidly with the wit and dynamic range required by the score. In their turn, the wind thrilled the audience with some lovely phrasing of these most English of tunes, leading to a climax which brought calls of approval from listeners.
The overture was follwed by two pieces by Delius - On hearing the first cuckoo in spring and Summer night on the river - which both pieces of impressionist tone painting which require tremendous teamwork to manage the relationships between soloists and the complex scoring of the strings. The challenge was more than met with fine undulating solos from flute and oboe over the well phrased if perhaps slightly forced string harmonies. The first half ended with the richly tuneful Banks of Green Willow masterfully shaped by the conductor. It is great credit to this group of players that so much music which relies on emotional rather than dramatic climaxes come across so satisfyingly.
The second half continued the rustic theme with Beethoven's Pastoral Symphony. Here is another piece that allows no room for error. The strings did not disappoint, with assured playing of the gentle intersecting melodies. As the Symphony develops to reveal the antics and feelings of the villagers, bassoon, horn and clarinet all delighted with moments of grace and humour. The evening was brought to a splendid climax as the excellent brass and percussion firmly brought this stimulating performance to a stirring end.
Sat 6th May, Colyer-Fergusson Hall, 7.30pm
with Whitstable Dance
Tickets at £15 and £8 available from the Gulbenkian Box Office
Our Spring Concert introduces a collaboration with Whitstable Dance which will allow local young people to share the pleasure of performance with the Orchestra in a presentation of music and dance from Tchaikovsky’s famous ballet, The Nutcracker. The programme will focus on Act ii of the ballet in which the heroine, Clara, travels with the Prince (an erstwhile nutcracker) to the Land of Sweets where they are entertained. The Nutcracker is one of the Tchaikovsky's most popular compositions. The music contains some of his most memorable melodies including the Trepak and the famous Waltz of the Flowers and March, as well as the ubiquitous Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy. The ballet contains surprisingly advanced harmonies and a wealth of melodic invention. The atmosphere of magic and mystery is sustained by a performance of Rimsky-Korsakov’s orchestral suite Scheherazade, inspired by the tale of The Arabian Nights in which the Sultan’s wife deflects her imminent execution through skilful storytelling and eventually wins her reprieve. Like The Nutcracker, the music is adventurous and delightfully orchestrated.
Details of forthcoming concerts are also listed in the Events Diary of the Canterbury Arts Council website.