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

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. 



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.