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)
A Musical Love Triangle7.30pm Saturday 29 November, Colyer-Fergusson Hall
Tickets £12 Full and £5 Students & Children; Gulbenkian Box Office
Our Winter Concert this year features three composers whose complex lives were deeply intertwined and whose musical interaction was central to their intense and often painful relationships. The concert opens with Brahms' Tragic Overture, written in 1880 as a moody counterpart to his ebullient Academic Festival Overture. As a young man Brahms revered the work of Schumann, who did much to promote his reputation, and Brahms spent much time in the Schumann household where he formed a close attachment to Clara Schumann. Clara was also a composer and a fine concert pianist, activities she sustained despite her responsibilities for management of a household with seven young children. Our concert features the beginning of an intended second symphony, dedicated as a birthday present to Robert in 1847 and developed into the Konzertsatz fur Klavier und Orchester by the Belgian pianist Jozeph de Beenhouwer. Schumann's Third Symphony, often known as the Rhenish Symphony, forms the highlight of the programme. Composed in 1850, it celebrates the composers happy memories of a trip to the Rhineland which he and Clara likened to a pilgrimage. Unusually, there are five movements and the whole is an exuberant expression of the skills of this wonderful composer who, tragically, was to attempt suicide six years later and be committed to a mental asylum.
Details of forthcoming concerts are also listed in the Events Diary of the Canterbury Arts Council website.