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

Into the 19th Century

7:30pm Saturday 27th June, Colyer-Fergusson Hall, University of Kent

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


This year's summer concert features two works by Beethoven, the first of which is the fine Coriolan Overture written in 1807 for the tragedy of the same name by the German author Heinrich Joseph von Collin about the ancient Roman leader Gaius Marcius Coriolanus.  The Overture is programmatic in that the music follows the themes of the play, with Beethoven using a minor theme to reflect warlike intent and a gentler theme in the relative major to represent the pleas by Coriolanus' mother for him to abandon his attack on Rome.  The programme continues with Mendelssohn's acclaimed Violin Concerto, one of the most popular and frequently performed works in the violin concert repertoire.  Premiered in 1845, the Concerto was written over a period of seven years during which Mendelssohn sought advice from his friend Ferdinand David.  Although the Concerto follows a traditional form, it has several innovative elements, such as the early entrance of the solo instrument at the beginning of the work and the close melodic and harmonic connection between the three movements which run together in a style known as through-composed.  We are delighted to feature the Orchestra's Leader, Amanda Wyatt, as the soloist.  The final work in the concert is Beethoven's Symphony No.1, which served to announce his talents to Vienna in 1800.  Like the previous work in the programme it predominantly follows the established structure of the day, but has some innovative features that hint at the magnificence of the symphonies to come, such as the ambiguity of key in the opening bars, the accelerated tempo of the Menuetto, and the unusual use of the traditional sonata form in the first and last movements. 



More Information

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