We were all delighted to see conductor Bjorn Bantock back from his spinal surgery and in such good form too. It was a truly patriotic programme, the second performance after one early in June held outside at Castor (quaintly described by Bjorn as a small city outside Peterborough!) and very much in Proms style to be thoroughly enjoyed by all.
The programme included Haydn’s popular Trumpet Concerto with the soloist Giovanni Re, who gave a sensitive and expressive performance. Butterworth’s The Banks of Green Willow in comparison, was gentle and included an excellent clarinet solo. The first half concluded with Dvorak’s lively Slavonic Dances.
The Proms style prevailed in the second half and after Handel’s Royal Fireworks, described by Bjorn as an orchestra in boats on the Thames, all wearing heavy coats and powdered wigs and therefore somewhat hot and uncomfortable - the amusing vision was very clear! The
orchestra performed it tonight with the usual aplomb.
Bjorn is an obvious fan of Eric Coates’ music and Coates experience in pit orchestras certainly ensured his masterly melodies were all excellently orchestrated. The three compositions used for radio programmes demonstrated the attractive melodies and gave confidence and obvious enjoyment to the orchestra as well. The works Calling All Workers, By the Sleepy Lagoon and Knightsbridge March had the audience putting the programme titles to each.......Music while you Work......Desert Island Discs and In Town Tonight.
Locally based soloist Liz Williams joined the orchestra for Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance No 1, Rule Britannia and Hubert Parry’s setting of Jerusalem, performing excellently whilst encouraging the enthusiastic audience to join in.
A real programme suitable for the Queen’s platinum jubilee celebrations which ended with the rousing Eric CoatesThe Dambusters March. A thoroughly enjoyable evening although sadly to a smaller than usual audience – don’t miss the next one on Sunday 13th November.