|Cimarosa||Secret Marriage Overture|
|Arriaga||Symphony in D|
|Richard Strauß||Oboe Concerto|
|Mozart||Symphony 35 (Haffner)|
The classical gems of this concert certainly shone bright on Saturday evening for the latest concert by the Trowbridge Symphony Orchestra. It was a delight for me to be introduced to four such pleasing works, which I am ashamed to say, I had previously not heard. The orchestra played each with great sensitivity, following the clear direction of the conductor Philip Draisey. As a conductor, I found him mesmerizing to watch, with his whole body and face energetically encapsulating how he wanted the orchestra to respond. The orchestra followed his guidance with superb results.
The first piece, Cimarosa’s Overture to ‘Il matrimonio segreto’ was very bright, with effective dynamic contrast throughout and some wonderfully rousing crescendos, as well as perfectly timed increases in tempo. As the overture to the opera, it certainly made me intrigued to hear more.
The Arriaga sinfonia started in a more sedate fashion with the warm string section in a musical conversation with the woodwind. Each complemented the other effectively while allowing the different textures to shine. Again , dynamic contrasts were effective and clear with the sections supporting each other throughout.
After the interval was the highlight of my evening; Strauss’ Oboe Concerto. Never before have I heard such oboe playing and I feel so privileged to have witnessed the soloist, Sasha Calin. It is not often that I am moved to tears by an ‘amateur’ orchestra, but this was one of those occasions. The way the orchestra responded to her demonstrated their prowess and she herself was completely captivating. There was absolute silence of awe and wonderment between movements, showing that we were all aware that we were witnessing something quite remarkable. The rousing applause at the end of the concerto was fully deserved and I lost count of the number of ‘curtain calls’ which the soloist had to take.
Who could follow that? Well, Mozart. Again, a piece I was unfamiliar with but you could not fail to identify the composer, and the orchestra did it justice. Again, contrasts in the score were ably handled. There were light, almost dance like sections offering a playful quality, tones of a courtly waltz with brass and woodwind overlaying to provide a rich, regal texture, refined woodwind and sweeping strings. The ending itself could only have been Mozart and was gloriously delivered by Trowbridge Symphony Orchestra. A real gem of an evening!Liz Newton
|J Williams||Star Wars|
|J Williams||Harry Potter|
|Shore||Lord of the Rings|
|Bernstein||West Side Story|
|Vaughan Williams||English Folk Song Suite|
|Elgar||Cello Concerto||Soloist - Lorna Davis|
|Purcell||Rondeau from Abdelazar Suite|
|Britten||Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra|
|Williams||Hymn to the Fallen|
|Sibelius||Violin Concerto||Soloist - Rachel Stonham|
|Grieg||Peer Gynt - Suites 1 & 2|
|Mozart||Magic Flute Overture|
|R Strauss||Four Last Songs||Soloist Sian Dicker|
|Shostakovitch||Suite for Variety Orchestra (Jazz Suite No. 2)|
|Gershwin||Rhapsody in Blue||Soloist - Jacob Byrne|
Here's a first - reviewing a classical music concert. Behind food, music is probably my greatest love. All genres including jazz, classic rock, soul and reggae. Classical is my favourite. I had occasion to visit Wiltshire a couple of weeks back and, with the demand for a variety of content, including that concerning music, entertainment and events, I thought here would be a good place to start.
Putting an American and two Russians in the same room these days is likely to lead to a highly volatile situation. Or it may be the start of a joke - An American and two Russians walk into a bar- I'll let you come up with your own punchlines for that one
What it does make for is a highly ambitious and entertaining musical programme. The show, which was sold out on a very snowy St. Patrick's Day, opened with a full performance of the Jazz Suite #2 by Dmitri Shostakovich. You'll know the famous waltz when you hear it- it's unmistakable.
It was a strange feeling listening to this music. Half the time, with the resonant string sections, one felt transported to Russia of the era of the Tsars and the grandeur of the Romanovs. Like you were standing in the ballroom of one of the imperial palaces. On the other hand, however, with the dominant brass sounds, it was like being by the seaside near the bandstand. Saxophones drowned out the trombones in places, but otherwise a uniform performance.
Following that, a piano was wheeled out and in with it came the evening's soloist, Jacob Byrne. This was to play George Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue - a piece where classical and jazz start to meld into one. From the opening clarinet solo. For the film buffs among the readership, this may ring a few bells from Woody Allen's Manhatten. Close your eyes and you might find yourself in downtown New York. The loneliness suggested by the noticeable silence and drop in atmosphere with every piano solo from Byrne could just as well set the scene of a Neo-Noir movie.
Byrne demonstrated his skills as a musician, and conductor Phil Draisey did the same on the piano for the first of two encores. Byrne had transposed Gershwin's Chinese Blues for piano duet, with the conductor serving as his second. A solo piece from Debussy followed.
Personally, I have never been fond of Rimsky-Korsakov's music. You may recognise Flight of the Bumblebee upon hearing it, but arguably one of his most famous pieces is Scheherazade. If you're not aware, Scheherazade is the narrator of the One Thousand and One Arabian Nights, the stories that also gave us Aladdin, Sinbad and Ali Baba. Chaos, fire and drama - all were brought out in the TSO's rendition. So much so that I may well have been converted to enjoy the piece.
Well, rumour has it, they're having a Movie Music concert sometime in the future - I personally can't wait.
|Rossini||Overture Barber of Seville|
|Faure||Masques et Bergamasques|
|Delius||Walk to the Paradise Garden|
|Elgar||Romance for Bassoon and Orchestra|
|Rimsky-Korsakov||May Night Overture|
|Shostakovich||Piano concerto No. 2||Soloist: Jacob Byrne|
|Tchaikovsky||Symphony No. 5|
Review of Spring 2017 Concert
Trowbridge Symphony Orchestra’s Spring Concert at the Bradford on Avon Music Centre was entirely devoted to Russian Music. The concert opened with the overture to ‘May Night’ by Rimsky Korsakov. The slow introduction, announced beautifully by solo horn, was followed by some furious string playing in the Allegro. A huge crescendo led to a very vigorous Presto ending.
The soloist in Shostakovich’s Piano Concerto No.2 was Jacob Byrne. Our attention was immediately captured by the vivacious, rhythmic piano playing supported by the sympathetic orchestral accompaniment. The second movement began with a solemn string introduction leading to a meltingly beautiful piano theme in which the soloist displayed the most delicate playing.
In complete contrast the third movement burst in with fast rhythmic figures, many bare octaves in the piano part, punctuated by syncopated chords from the orchestra. It was an exhilarating performance and the audience showed its appreciation by tumultuous applause. We were then surprised by a piano duet (Rachmaninoff’s Italian polka) played by soloist and conductor, followed by a dreamy performance of Debussy’s ‘Clair de Lune’.
The evening ended with Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony - in four movements linked by the ‘fate’ motif. It was introduced dramatically by the first clarinet, and as the movement progressed the orchestra responded well to the emotional demands of the music. The haunting horn melody of the second movement was beautifully executed by Sophie Letheren and the whole movement exuded deep emotion.
The third movement in waltz style was also well interpreted by the orchestra. In the final movement the ‘fate’ theme recurred, the music stirred varying emotions which the orchestra conveyed most effectively.
To single out individual players is invidious but special mention must be made of the 1st bassoon, Paul Wendell, and the young timpanist Daniel Watt. The orchestra performed with great energy and passion thanks to the inspiration of their new conductor Philip Draisey.
|Brahms||Serenade No. 2 in A|
|Beethoven||Symphony No. 3 Eroica|
Review of Winter 2016 Concert
St James’ Parish church was the venue for the autumn concert of Trowbridge Symphony Orchetra last Saturday evening.
Under the baton of its new conductor, Philip Draisey, the concert began with Beethoven’s Overture Coriolan. From the first arresting chords depicting the stubborn Coriolanus through to the flowing melodies of his pleading family to the final submission and suicide, the orchestra gave a dramatic interpretation.
There followed the little known Serenade No. 2 in A by Brahms, an unusual work, in that it includes no violins. The result was a mellow string accompaniment to the woodwind and horns. The overall effect was excellent. The second half was devoted to Beethoven’s Eroica Symphony. In the first movement there was good contrast between the boisterous sections and the calmer moments.
In the Funeral March there was careful attention to dynamics. The Scherzo bounced along at an exuberant tempo. Every section shone in turn in the Finale, especially the oboe in her beautifully executed solo.
Trowbridge Symphony Orchestra is certainly responding well to the sensitive and energetic leadership of its new conductor.
|Butterworth||The Banks of Green Willow|
|Smetana||From Bohemia"s Woods and Fields|
|Curran||Romance for Orchestra (1st Performance)|
|Dvorak||Symphony No. 8|
A review of our Summer 2016 concert
The orchestra's Summer Concert, conducted by Gareth Harris, took place at Holy Trinity Church, Trowbridge on Saturday 18th June.
The opening item "The Banks of Green Willow" by George Butterworth Is a well crafted orchestration with a melancholy melody and harmony passing around and well balanced throughout.
"From Bohemia's Woods and Fields" by Bedrich Smetana. Impressive introduction indicating good things to come. Delightful flowing flutes, accurate harmonics from upper strings, rich cello sounds. Chorale passages very well played. Good rhythmic playing from everyone leading to finale.
"Romance for Orchestra in Eb Major" by Thomas Curran. First public performance of this work, conducted by the composer, who is also a viola player in the orchestra. Introduction was a blend of instrumental tones over a lower strings drone. Despite the complexity of orchestration all the solo and section passages were clear to the listener. The players responded to the conductor excellently with oboe, cor-anglais, brass, and leader receiving well deserved acknowledgement.
"Symphony No 8 in G Major" by Antonin Dvorak
Allegro con Brio: Confident playing, particularly cellos, produced the "Brio" effect interspersed with delicate woodwind and good horn playing.
Adagio: Well balanced opening with good cor anglais. Decorative descending strings sounded well as did similar passage taken by woodwind. Trumpets, in well tuned unison, created a climax.
Allegretto Grazioso: Rhythms and dynamics well presented with good underlying melody.
Allegro ma non Troppo: Good introductory fanfare from trumpets. Cellos displayed good tone section playing. After solo and section interplay it led to a spirited finale with the horns creating excitement and a rousing conclusion from all.
It was the conductor's final concert with Trowbridge Symphony. He was thanked by the Chairman and in his response introduced his successor Phillip Draisey.
|Mendelssohn||Overture "Ruy Blas"|
|Mozart||Sinfonia Concertante for Violin and Viola||Soloists: Daphne Moody and Moira Alabaster|
|Sibelius||Symphony No. 2|
|Haydn||Trumpet Concerto||Soloist: Helen Whitemore|
|Schumann||Symphony No. 3 "Rhenish"|
|Beethoven||Overture "Egmont" - Op.84|
|Bruch||Violin Concerto No.2||Soloist: Katherine Stonham (violin)|
|Haydn||Symphony No.104 "The London"|
|Wagner||Overture "Die Meistersinger"|
|Bottesini||Grand Duo for Violin and Double Bass|
|Vaughan Williams||A London Symphony|
|Suppe||Overture "Poet and Peasant"|
|Brahms||Symphony No. 2|
|Dvorak||Symphony No 9 - From the New World|
|Quilter||A Children"s Overture|
|Beethoven||Piano Concerto No, 5 "The Emperor"||Soloist: Cordelia Williams (piano)|
|Mussorgsky||Pictures at an Exhibition|
|Walton||Spitfire Prelude and Fugue|
|Prokofiev||Peter and the Wolf|
|Dvorak||Slavonic Dances 1, 2 8|
|Haydn||Cello Concerto||Soloist Liz Anderson|
|Beethoven||Symphony No. 5|
|Rachmaninov||Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini||Soloist Cordelia Williams (piano)|
|Vaughan Williams (arr Jacob)||English Folksong Suite|
|Haydn||Symphony No.103 "Drum Roll"|
|Arriaga||Symphony in D major|
|Weber||Bassoon Concerto||Soloist: Elizabeth Scott|
|Mendelssohn||Symphony No. 3 "The Scottish"|
|Canteloube||Songs of the Auvergne||Soloist: Maria Danishvar Brown (soprano)|
|Vaughan Williams||Overture "The Wasps"|
|Mozart||Clarinet Concerto||Soloist: Katie Stevens|
|Brahms||Symphony No. 1|
|Borodin||In the Steppes of Central Asia|
|Tchaikovsky||Ballet Suite Op. 20 "Swan Lake"|
|Mussorgsky||Night on Bare Mountain|
|Mozart||Overture and Extracts from "The Marriage of Figaro"||Emily Bradley (soprano), Maria Danishvar Brown (soprano), Steve Brown (baritone)|
|Dvorak||Symphony No. 7 in D minor|
|Rossini||Overture "The Thieving Magpie|
|Beethoven||Symphony No.8 in F Op.93|
|Vaughan Williams||Symphony No.5 in D|
|Verdi||Overture "The Force of Destiny"|
|Schumann||Piano Concerto in A minor||Anna Roberts|
|Prokofiev||Suite "Lieutenant Kije"|
|Mozart||Overture "La Clemenza di Tito"|
|Strauss||Serenade for Wind Op.7|
|Haydn||Symphony No.99 in Eb|
|Humperdinck||Overture Hansel and Gretel|
|Mendelssohn||Violin Concerto||Nadia Myerscough|
|Elgar||Wand of Youth Suite No.1|
|Mozart||Violin Concert No.3||Clare March|
|Mozart||Don Giovanni Overture|
|Beethoven||Piano Concerto No.1||Anna Roberts|
|Rodrigo||Concierto d’Aranjuez||Cobie Smit|
|Tchaikowsky||Symphony no.6 (Pathetique)|
|Rossini||Overture The Silken Ladder|
|Mozart||Horn Concerto No.2||Mervyn Stephens|
|McCunn||Land of the Mountain and the Flood|
|Tchaikowsky||Violin Concerto||Pauline Lowbury|
|Butterworth||The Banks of Green Willow|