Review of Concert 21 March 2009
A Concert of 20th Century American Music
Shirley Hall, Kings School, Canterbury
soloist: Peter Foggitt (Piano)
Andrew Lowen conducted The Canterbury Orchestra in a thrilling concert of American music at the Shirley Hall.
The brass and woodwind sections gave us a rousing start with Sousa's Liberty Bell March, followed by the whole orchestra in John Henry by Aaron Copland. This powerful piece is based on a folksong and portrays a railroad-building slave who competes against a mechanical steam hammer doing the same work. The hero wins the day, only to die later from his exertions!
The orchestra's Leader, Chris Brown, then took up the baton to conduct Barber's haunting Adagio for Strings, played with romantic fervour and controlled passion. The guest soloist of the evening, Scottish pianist, Peter Foggitt then produced a wonderful account of Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue. His playing had a classically-trained discipline and he was ably supported by the orchestra who brought off the jazzy effects as to the manor born. It is interesting to note that the original jazz band parts were arranged by Ferde Grofé and labelled by the first names of the players rather than the instruments.
After the interval came a bubbly account of Bernstein's Candide Overture, Appalachian Spring by Copland and Gershwin's Porgy & Bess Suite, with its popular tunes.
Altogether a magnificent concert presented with great enthusiasm by these dedicated players.
David Ruddock (Kentish Gazatte)
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.