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)
7:30pm Saturday 28th November, Colyer-Fergusson Hall, University of Kent
Tickets £12.50 full and £6 students and children available from the Gulbenkian Box Office
This year's winter concert begins with a sparkling musical aperitif in the form of Rossini’s popular overture to the opera ‘The Italian Girl in Algiers’. The Overture follows the story of the Opera with its dramas and romances, spreading snatches of the main themes from the arias between the sections of the orchestra and generating an enlivening beginning to the Concert. This is followed by the splendid Emperor Piano Concerto from the end of what is considered Beethoven’s heroic period, written in Vienna in 1809 whilst the city was under fire from the cannons of Napoleon. The music is predictably powerful and stirring, with Beethoven exploring new approaches to the genre and testing the technique of the soloist. The climax of the concert is Schubert’s wonderful Unfinished Symphony, something of a reinvention of the genre after the recent masterpieces of Beethoven's 7th and 8th, premiered in 1813 and 1814 in Vienna. After a couple of false starts, Schubert was ready to attempt in the symphony what he already done in his songs and chamber music. Instead of trying to take Beethoven on at his own game Schubert found a way of shaping time and tonality that no other symphonic composer up to this point had managed.
Details of forthcoming concerts are also listed in the Events Diary of the Canterbury Arts Council website.