Review - Wednesday 15th June 2011 in Theatre Severn
Shrewsbury Symphony Orchestra presented a programme of popular British music at Theatre Severn for its summer concert. The orchestra displayed its commendable versatility by entering into the world of light classics and film music – not a symphony or concerto in sight. The tone was set in the opening Pomp and Circumstance March No.4 by Elgar, where the brass section demonstrated crisp articulation and the strings used Elgar’s lush patriotic tune to come to terms with Theatre Severn’s unforgiving acoustic (or, sadly, lack of it - what a shame that the design of this admirable facility gave such little thought to musical resonance.)
However, we were transported around the world of British music by visiting Hamish MacCunn’s ‘Land of the Mountain and Flood’ and ‘Mars’ and ‘Jupiter’ from Gustav Holst’s Planets Suite. The brass players must have been relieved to have a rest in the ‘Palladio’ string piece by Karl Jenkins after suffering lip-rot in sustaining the demanding rhythms of ‘Mars’. The Dam Busters march of Eric Coates ended the first half in fine style before an appreciative and good sized audience.
The second half began with Walton’s ‘Henry V’ suite, with Paul Higgins as the admirable narrator. The string movements of this suite were quite exquisitely played, as was Nigel Hess’s ‘Ladies in Lavender’, with orchestral leader Paul Bramwell relishing the solo part of this beautifully crafted miniature. A selection of music by the late John Barry showed what a wonderful melodist he was, as we were whisked through some James Bond movie music to the haunting strains of ‘Dances with Wolves’ and ‘Born Free’.
Ron Goodwin’s ‘633 Squadron’ concluded the evening - a strenuous piece for any group, especially after such a demanding programme - much credit to the orchestra for both its stamina and skill and to conductor and excellent compere John Moore, without whom the evening would have been much shorter !
© Bob Wysome (reproduced by kind permission)