Canterbury Orchestra

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

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 concerto will be performed by pianist  Christopher Weston. 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.  



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.