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.
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.
The next concert is on November 19th at St. James Church
St. James Church, Trowbridge
Wiltshire Music Centre
|T: 01225 707919|
|2007-2016 Trowbridge Symphony Orchestra|