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)

Next Concert

The Romantics

7:30pm Saturday 28th March, Colyer-Fergusson Hall, University of Kent

Tickets £12 full and £5 students and children available from the Gulbenkian Box Office 

 This year’s Spring Concert features three powerful and well-loved pieces from the Romantic period presented in the traditional format of overture, concerto and symphony; all of the pieces were composed over a 10 year period around 1870 and all have made a lasting mark on western music.  The programme begins with Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet which, though styled an ‘Overture-Fantasy’ by the composer, has many of the characteristics of a symphonic poem with different themes representing the lovers and the warring Montagues and Capulets.  This is followed by Grieg’s famous A minor Piano Concerto, which has an interesting link to our previous concert; Grieg was greatly influenced by hearing Schumann’s piano concerto, performed by Clara Schumann and the two works are often compared.  It is one Griegs most important early works and one of his most popular, making considerable use of Norwegian folk material.  Borodin’s B Minor Symphony also has elements of the prevailing ‘nationalism’ in art music of the period using Russian folk themes and representing important cultural events.  The symphony took several years to write given the composers day job as a Professor of Chemistry at St Petersburg , and the interpolation of the writing of Prince Igor and Mlada -- both of which are echoed in passages of the Symphony.



More Information

Canterbury Arts CouncilDetails of forthcoming concerts are also listed in the Events Diary of the Canterbury Arts Council website.