Shrewsbury Orchestral Society

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Save the dates...

Our next concerts are:

22nd June 2022 – 7.30pm, The Abbey, Shrewsbury

Farrenc Symphony no.1 and Beethoven Pastoral Symphony

13th July 2022, Shrewsbury Castle

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Summer Concert Review: Andrew Petch

Shrewsbury Symphony Orchestra in action at Shrewsbury Abbey, Summer Concert 2022
Shrewsbury Symphony Orchestra in action at Shrewsbury Abbey, Summer Concert 2022: Credit Andy Bell

Shrewsbury  Symphony Orchestra, Summer Concert in The Abbey, June 2022.

A review by Andrew Petch. Picture credit: Andy Bell

Belatedly the music of Louise Farrenc is beginning to find a niche in concert programmes and the recording studios. Born in 1804, at a time when western Europe seethed with an incredible number of musical geniuses, she had to fight for acceptance.  Her fight for equality of opportunity with her male colleagues must gain our respect.  Her first symphony formed the first half  of a fine concert given by the Shrewsbury Symphony Orchestra under their conductor John Moore in Shrewsbury Abbey, while the second half took us to Beethoven’s impression of the countryside, his glorious “Pastoral” Symphony.

Both these works gave the brass and woodwind sections some wonderful moments in the spotlight-and how they relished these chances to shine! The second movement of Farrenc’s symphony was exquisite, capturing the demands of the time in being like an operatic aria; it was premiered at a time when opera was flourishing, especially in Paris. Sandwiched between the glorious second and rumbustious fourth movements, the third was slightly less musically satisfying but the players gave it a full-blooded outing. By comparison, the fourth movement was a tour de force; it wore its heart on its sleeve and had much in common with the music of Mendelssohn.

The “Pastoral” symphony is probably one of the best known, most loved works in the symphonic repertoire-and for good reason. John Moore chose brisk tempi, especially for the opening movement which showed the  orchestra at its best, but the second movement, “Scene by the brook” and the fifth, “Shepherd’s song: cheerful and thankful feelings after the storm” showed Beethoven at his most spiritual, albeit in a slightly gruff fashion! 

This was a lovely concert. It proved we can never hear too much of the wonderful music of Beethoven and it also proves that the music of Louise Farrenc deserves a much wider audience.   

About Us

Shrewsbury Orchestral Society was founded in 1888, making it one of the oldest amateur orchestras in the country. The Society operates as a registered charity with the purpose of "educating the public in the art and science of music". A Committee of volunteers organises a minimum of three concerts each year of orchestral works usually including a symphony or other substantive work.

Shrewsbury Symphony Orchestra is supported by our Music Director, John Moore and Orchestra Leader, Alex Postlethwaite. Concerts are held in various locations in or around Shrewsbury; further details are elsewhere on this website.