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

The Romantics

7:30pm Saturday 28th March, Colyer-Fergusson Hall, University of Kent

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

 This year’s Spring Concert features three powerful and well-loved pieces from the Romantic period presented in the traditional format of overture, concerto and symphony; all of the pieces were composed over a 10 year period around 1870 and all have made a lasting mark on western music.  The programme begins with Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet which, though styled an ‘Overture-Fantasy’ by the composer, has many of the characteristics of a symphonic poem with different themes representing the lovers and the warring Montagues and Capulets.  This is followed by Grieg’s famous A minor Piano Concerto, which has an interesting link to our previous concert; Grieg was greatly influenced by hearing Schumann’s piano concerto, performed by Clara Schumann and the two works are often compared.  It is one Griegs most important early works and one of his most popular, making considerable use of Norwegian folk material.  Borodin’s B Minor Symphony also has elements of the prevailing ‘nationalism’ in art music of the period using Russian folk themes and representing important cultural events.  The symphony took several years to write given the composers day job as a Professor of Chemistry at St Petersburg , and the interpolation of the writing of Prince Igor and Mlada -- both of which are echoed in passages of the Symphony.



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.