Canterbury Orchestra Music in Kent

Review of Spring Concert 2010


Saturday March 27th, 7.30pm

St Peter's Methodist Church

Conductor: Andrew Lowen

Soloist: Robin Wilson (violin)

This concert by the Canterbury Orchestra opened with Mozart’s overture to his opera Così fan tutte.  Though perhaps not as fleet of foot in the frenetic main section as one might have wished, the whimsical spirit of the opera was reflected well with some nice touches by the woodwind and sensitive playing from the brass and timpani.

The highlight of the evening was undoubtedly the performance of the Bruch Violin Concerto No.1.  The soloist, Robin Wilson, captured the audience from the very beginning with his sensitive playing of the opening cadenza-like passage.  The ensuing first movement was played with a judicious blend of full-blooded passion and sweet lyricism by the solo violin, with deft accompanying by the orchestra, creating a fine ensemble balance.  The emotional kernel of the work, the slow adagio movement, was shaped well by both soloist and orchestra, with impressive orchestral climaxes.  The final movement could have been a little more light-footed, but overall it succeeded in communicating the essence of the gypsy folk-dance. The soloist displayed throughout this performance a sure command of the technical and emotional demands of the work.  Both soloist and orchestra fully deserved the enthusiastic applause of the audience.

Brahms’s Serenade No.1 presents a more relaxed ambience than one might expect from this composer. The conductor, Andrew Lowen, projected well the mixture of youthful exuberance combined with more than a hint of symphonic rigour in the opening movement.  The darker Nordic tones of the second (scherzo) and third (slow) movements were managed well by the orchestra, in particular by the horns and clarinets.  The attention of the listener was somewhat lost during the elegiac third movement (perhaps the fault of the relatively inexperienced Brahms rather than of the orchestra), but was fully regained in the penultimate and final movements, characterised by spirited rhythmic playing, especially by the strings, bringing the concert to an exciting conclusion.


Dr Michael Chandler


Next Concert

A Musical Love Triangle

7.30pm 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.


Interested in playing with the Canterbury Orchestra?

Call Nicky Pound, Canterbury Orchestra Manager on 01304 812755 or email us to find out whether we have vacancies.