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Canterbury Orchestra

WINTER CONCERT 2010

Canterbury Orchestra

Andrew Lowen: conductor

Saturday 16th January 2010

Kent College Chapel

This was an impressive performance produced by a group of amateur and semi-professional local musicians. Their dedication and careful preparation resulted in an evening of uplifting music making. Mendelssohn’s Overture: Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage requires playing of great delicacy. While the execution fell short of such necessary subtleties, overall the impression in regard to style and sonority maintained the crucial palate of colours. Elgar’s Enigma Variations, another testimony to the notorious density of the composer’s orchestration; whilst being deft, nimble, thickly layered it thus requires dextrous and agile playing. That these players avoided the treacherous pitfalls that can so often mar performances of this work was a credit to all. They seemed to relish in the colours and imbued their performances with a palpable sense of collective pride. Nimrod was taken at a flowing pace, allowing its lyrical lines to register with true ‘British’ poignancy. The following variation, Dorabella, was no less impressive an example, and the delicate and buoyant rhythms were finely etched. Tchaikovsky’s mighty Symphony No.5 was given a bold and purposeful account; the opening Andante/Allegro was impressive in its sense of architectural sweep. If the doleful slow movement revealed some lapses in ensemble and the Valse lacked in some refinement, the final movement had real élan and substantial excitement. The principal woodwind players (Janet McDonald, Nicky Pound, Jo Maddock and John Perfect) gave committed and well-defined solos, while the brass secured some resplendent sounds. Mandy Cook’s famous horn solo was carefully managed. The strings, so often the Achilles heel of amateur orchestras, made an impressive sound, illustrated in the slower movements.  Andrew Lowen inspired authority in performances that revealed the composers’ intentions. His careful attentiveness to orchestral balance and ensemble went hand in hand with his inherent musicality.

Professor Paul Max Edlin

for the Kentish Gazette

Next Concert

Russian Fairytales

Sat 6th May, Colyer-Fergusson Hall, 7.30pm

with Whitstable Dance

Tickets at £15 and £8 available from the Gulbenkian Box Office

Our Spring Concert introduces a collaboration with Whitstable Dance which will allow local young people to share the pleasure of performance with the Orchestra in a presentation of music and dance from Tchaikovsky’s famous ballet, The Nutcracker. The programme will focus on Act ii of the ballet in which the heroine, Clara, travels with the Prince (an erstwhile nutcracker) to the Land of Sweets where they are entertained. The Nutcracker is one of the Tchaikovsky's most popular compositions. The music contains some of his most memorable melodies including the Trepak and the famous Waltz of the Flowers and March, as well as the ubiquitous Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy. The ballet contains surprisingly advanced harmonies and a wealth of melodic invention. The atmosphere of magic and mystery is sustained by a performance of Rimsky-Korsakov’s orchestral suite Scheherazade, inspired by the tale of The Arabian Nights in which the Sultan’s wife deflects her imminent execution through skilful storytelling and eventually wins her reprieve. Like The Nutcracker, the music is adventurous and delightfully orchestrated.

 

 

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.