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Concert Review by Liz Noble

An almost full house greeted the extra large orchestra (about 60 players) for the CPSO concert on the warm summer evening of Saturday 17 June, The orchestra was spread right across the floor, with just 9 brass players tucked in front of the wings, to maximise space for members of the local Tu Danse Studios to perform. A very different programme for CPSO but very welcome variety that provided full orchestral sound for the delightful ballet dancers of all ages to perform.

The strong Russian theme began with Tchaikovsky’s Polonaise from the opera Eugene Onegin. The formal large orchestral scoring for this Russian ball at the mansion of the Capulets was a sound confident start to the evening.

Next came a Tchaikovsky favourite The Suite from the Nutcracker ballet. The Overture and March from Act 1 gave the brass section a good opportunity to ensure we were all alert for the excepts from Act 2 where the orchestra was joined by Amelia Templeman. Amelia danced a delightfully delicate and expressive Sugar Plum fairy solo - a performance given a tremendous response from the audience. Further excerpts from Act 2 included the Arabian Dance and the Dance of the Mirlitons which gave an excellent opportunity to show off the woodwind skills of the orchestra. The mysterious Arabian Dance was an appealingly realistic interpretation and the Chinese Dance a really endearing display by the younger members of Tu Danse where they used delicate colourful Chinese parasols to great effect. The suite concluded with the popular Waltz of the Flowers enabling a troupe of brightly clad dancers of assorted ages to perform an interesting and attractive waltz.

The final Russian work – Prokofiev’s Dance of the Knights brought the first half of the concert to a powerful end. It certainly bowled over our conductor, Bjorn, who took his bow but then had to be reminded to leave the stage for the interval!

The fictitious account of a Spanish warrior in Massenet’s Le Cid Ballet Suite began the second half of the concert and allowed the percussion section to show off its talents. A forthright first part followed with a melodic introduction to part 2 by the cello section. The final sections also gave great opportunity for many individual orchestral sections – pizzicato strings allowed the percussion to come to the fore and the flute solo by Deirdre was a delight. A climax of cymbals, tambourines and more castanets brought it to a definite close.

Coppelia by Delibes followed with the well-known story inspired by writings of E T A Hoffmann. Excerpts Prelude, Waltz and Czardas and a vibrant Mazurka allowed the senior members of the Tu Danse group to perform a confident, strong delightful formation that was enhanced by delicate orchestral sounds.

Tchaikovsky's Capriccio Italien rounded off the concert. This piece brings to life his exciting time spent in Rome at a time when he was in a high period of creativity. It includes a dramatic fanfare and many infectious and traditional Italian tunes which brought this most enjoyable and varied concert to a brilliant close.

Congratulations to all and thank you to all for a great evening.


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