Queen's Jubilee Concert 2012

Review of June 2012 concert

soloist Katherine Tinker

Saturday 30th June 2012

St Peters Methodist Church


The programme notes for this concert suggested that the audience was going to share “a jubilee celebration to stimulate the musically inquisitive” and I doubt if there was one person who came away from the concert without discovering a new musical delight and feeling in festive mood.

The Malcolm Arnold “Homage to the Queen” Suite opened the programme and here was a splendid rendering of this forgotten but brilliant piece. Being the composition of a trumpet player, it is not surprising that the work required virtuoso brass playing and this was achieved with ease by a highly accomplished set of players. The conductor, Andrew Lowen, managed with subtlety to create all of the contrasting moods of this official 1953 ballet from fiery majesty through gentle ballroom grace to the light touch so reminiscent of the post-war years.

The other piece in the first half was from a quite different era with Katherine Tinker performing the Mozart “Coronation” Piano Concerto. Katherine spent her formative years in Canterbury and this performance, delicate and intricate, made it a delight to have her back in the city. She explored the simple beauty of Mozart’s themes with great musical intelligence in the cadenzas and the balance between orchestral timbre and piano expressiveness came to fruition in the lovely slow movement.

After the interval, the imaginative concert programming brought to light another one of those pieces which might otherwise have been forgotten: Three Portraits from “The England of Elizabeth” composed as a film score by Vaughan Williams in the last year of his life. This was the height of the evening’s music making, in spite of the obvious difficulties the piece posed. The haunting rural textures, so typical of this composer, gave the excellent woodwind soloists their change to shine and the strings, led brilliantly by Kammy Pike, who also played inspiringly in her solo passages, evoked an atmosphere of nostalgia for an England long ago.

The evening ended with contributions from the two most prominent composers of the early “new Elizabethan age” – Britten and Walton. From the former we had the Courtly Dances from “Gloriana “ with their challenging rhythms kept tight under Andrew Lowen’s baton. The “Orb and Sceptre Coronation March”, composed by Walton for the service itself was played here with verve and splendour providing a fitting end to a fine evening.


David Pestell

More Information

Canterbury Arts CouncilDetails of forthcoming concerts are also listed in the Events Diary of the Canterbury Arts Council website and on the Orchestra's Facebook page.

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