Shrewsbury Symphony Orchestra

Shrewsbury Orchestral Society

Review - Wed 14 June 2017

Shrewsbury Symphony Orchestra  presented its Summer Concert  at Shrewsbury Abbey with a programme of music by Dvorak, Bizet and Cesar Franck.  Starting with Dvorak’s lively  Carnival Overture,  the orchestra quickly came to terms with the Abbey’s  generous acoustic to produce some convincing  ensemble playing  and responded  to conductor John Moore’s  very fast tempo which made one think he was conducting with a whip and not a baton.  However, this resulted in a lusty, rollicking performance which got the evening off to a boisterous start. This was followed by six movements from the Carmen Suite by Bizet. This suite is a great crowd-pleaser with its catchy rhythms and memorable tunes. The orchestral playing was always secure  with special mention of the flute and harp dialogue in the 3rd movement and the bassoon solo in the 5th movement . The last movement  was the popular ‘Toreador’s Song’ played with great panache – we just needed a bull fight on Wyle Cop to complete the picture.

The 2nd half was devoted to the Symphony in D minor  by Cesar Franck, the only composer of note to come out of Belgium. Few people would have known this work, but it has some attractive moments  which  are quite captivating. The symphony starts with a gentle 3-note figure which recurs in the other two movements.  The music builds  up to a climax  for full orchestra with some fiery  rhythms which were well managed by the orchestra,  though they didn’t match up with the rhythmic sounds  of the interval coffee cups being washed up in the distance. Solo passages for the cor anglais, harp and French horn were the highlights  of this movement.  The last movement was played with great energy and purpose  bringing  the concert to a rousing conclusion.

The orchestra’s Leader, Paul Bramwell  and conductor John Moore are both to be congratulated on the way this orchestra has developed  under their guidance and  admirable musicianship,  traits which were very evident  again in this most enjoyable concert.

© Bob Wysome (reproduced by kind permission)