Shrewsbury Symphony Orchestra

Shrewsbury Orchestral Society

Review - Wednesday 30th May 2012 in Theatre Severn

Film Music for a summer’s evening by Shrewsbury Symphony Orchestra.

Richard Strauss wrote an opera based on an argument between a poet and a composer each claiming precedence for their own art. The modern equivalent might be to ask whether the film or the music comes first. We have examples of great composers like John Williams, Vaughan Williams, Malcolm Arnold and Richard Rodney Bennet, who pour over a film and tailor their music to fit every movement and every change of mood in the film. But we also have examples of films that take music from Mahler or Beethoven and use them for their sound track.

This week saw a return of the Shrewsbury Symphony Orchestra to the Severn Theatre. This was their third summer concert in this theatre and again we were treated to a varied programme at the lighter end of their repertoire. All the pieces were film music. But as their conductor, John Moore, pointed out in his entertaining introductions Beethoven had never seen “The King’s Speech” and Dvorak can have had no idea that part of his New World Symphony would be borrowed for a television advert. We also heard some rousing examples of music written specially for films such as Superman, Star Wars and Star Trek.

The acoustic of the Severn Theatre is not kind to orchestral players, the sound tends to get lost in the soft furnishings, but there was some fine playing. The strings in particular are playing better than ever. The programme gave plenty of opportunities for the percussion section to shine, and this they certainly did, particularly in the music for Mission Impossible, which John Moore kindly pointed out was rather unusually written with five beats in a bar. We also had a fine trumpet solo in the Swan Lake music.

Though this theatre is not kind to the musicians, the audiences love it. There was a good attendance, and for those of us who care about music it was particularly good to see so many young people there. Perhaps the word had got round that the younger members of the audience were entitled to a free ice cream during the interval.

I hope that some of those who came and enjoyed the evening will try listening to this orchestra in one of their other concerts at the Alington Hall or in the Abbey; the ice cream may not be so good, but the music should be worth it.

© Charles West (reproduced by kind permission)