We had a brilliant time on the 21st of April performing our Spring Concert. Here is a review of the event written by our Chairman:
Alton Concert Orchestra performed their Spring Concert in the Alton Maltings Centre last Saturday 21st April. Attended by the Town Mayor, Cllr Dean-Paul Phillips and over 150 people, Chris Gardner conducted an orchestra of nearly 60 musicians in a programme of concert favourites. The orchestra (ACO) had just recovered from the mid-week shock of the last-minute absence of their Leader and violin soloist, Christine Meers, due to an unfortunate finger injury. ACO powered forward with an enforced change to their published programme and ably led by Nadine Farris in Christine’s absence.
The opening number was Rossini’s “Thieving Magpie” Overture, announced by the famous snare drum solo, leading into a rousing military march; this was followed by quieter passages of string playing and ravishing woodwind solos and then the inevitable Rossini crescendo leading to the exciting climax of the piece.
Elgar’s “Nimrod” from his Enigma Variations was performed in place of the advertised Svendsen “Romance for Violin and Orchestra”. Despite only having been rehearsed that afternoon, the orchestra showed excellent control of the large dynamic range in the short piece, which was much appreciated by the audience.
After the interval, Dvorak’s Symphony no. 9 “From the New World” reigned supreme. The orchestra clearly loved playing this work, which they had studied earlier in the year at a full day workshop led by two professional musicians. The care taken during rehearsal and preparation showed the orchestra and its conductor at their best. Every section of the orchestra had its share of the spotlight as more and more of Dvorak’s masterful melodic writing unfolded. Lower strings, brass, woodwind and percussion all contributed well-phrased passages, complimenting the eloquent playing of the violin section. Whether driving forward in tutti passages or contributing lyrical solos, the orchestra never lost its momentum as it moved through statement and recapitulation of the themes in the symphony towards the joyous climax at the end of the final movement.
The performance was heralded as one of the best Spring Concerts so far by the Alton Concert Orchestra. Their next appearance will be at the open air “Last Night of the Proms” in Alton Public Gardens on Saturday 14 July. The musical theme for that concert is “Fire and Water”, but let’s hope the elements don’t take that as a cue to participate!
Dr. C. Leggett