|Blowing our own trumpet since 1931|
|Overture to Susanna's Secret||-||Wolf Ferrari||Oboe Concerto in D minor op9 No2||-||Albinoni|
|Soloist - Chris Garbutt||Symphony No40 in G minor K550||-||Mozart||El Salon Mexico||-||Copland||Polonaise and Waltz from Eugene Onegin||-||Tchaikovsky||1812 Overture op49||-||Tchaikovsky|
"It was 20 years ago today/Bryan Western taught the band to play...He's guaranteed to raise a smile." (Apologies to Lennon and McCartney).
Yes, it really was back in 1985 that Western started to mould the (then) Harrogate Chamber Orchestra into the fine amateur symphony orchestra tht performed its Summer Gala Concert last Saturday. Not only that, his enthusiastic and youthful approach has ensured that a special atmosphere is present in its concerts, unlike any other Harrogate auience for classical music, with the average age plummeting from its usual "blue rinse brigade".
The concert began with an apology, however, for a technical hitch that resulted in a performance of the National Anthem in the key of F Major! This was followed by a fresh, sparkling and very precise performance of Wolf-Ferrari's Overture to Susanna's Secret. Chris Garbutt, the orchestra's principal oboist, then featured in a performance of Albinoni's Oboe Concerto in D Minor. Despite Garbutt's lurical and beautifully-phrased playing, the texture of the strings of HSO was somewhat too muddy.
Mozart's well-known symphony No. 40 received a well-contrasted performance, despite some untidy violin playing at times. The first and third movements received anespecially rhythmic approach, although the slow movement's softer passages could have been quieter and the finale lacked a little aggression. Copland's rarely-heard El Salon Mexico began the second half and, although the woodwind were not always together, the playing was most rhythmic and full of attention to detail with especially effective and varied clarinet solos.
The concert concluded with three pieces by Tchaikovsky: the Walz and Polonaise from Eugene Onegin and the 1812 Overture. In the two dances the orchestra reminded the audience what a brilliant orchestrator the composer was, with vigirous and rousing playing and incliding some very attractive flute playing.
The final work received a magnificent performance with the brass playing exceptionally well. From the opening rchly-played cello quartet right through to the triumphant 'cannon' and tubular bell-dominated final pasage, the playing was of the highest order.
Assurance was given that the orchestra's concerts will be restored to the Royal Hall in 2007. More people will once again be able to hear this fine ensemble.
- Paul Dyson, Harrogate Advertiser