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Henry Fairpo, V&A Vigar Group, Concert Sponsors writes:

A programme that suits space and orchestra makes a symphony orchestra in a grand space a joy - the Summer Concert did so wonderfully.

The acoustics of Peterborough Cathedral are magnificent but need care. The jovially grand statements of the Brahms Academic Festival Overture set the tone and showed the balance between clarity and grand surroundings had been struck beautifully.

What followed was a magnificent interpretation of Rachmaninov’s second piano concerto. Working with a superb soloist brings the best from an orchestra. With Katya Apekisheva at the piano, we revelled in a very moving and powerful performance. This was CPSO at its best. Katya brought the improvisatory feel of Rachmaninov’s own playing, while working in complete unity with Bjorn and the orchestra. The natural flow highlighted delicate details creating an illuminating vision of the work.

Dvorak’s Symphony “From the New World” is a piece combining the very well known (I think of Ronnie Barker well as the original Hovis advert!) with sections that are much less familiar but just as beautiful and thought provoking for the listener. This depiction showed just how at home Bjorn has the orchestra feeling with the pieces that they perform. Their playing brought out the spirit of the Bohemian community where Dvorak wrote it. From tender to fireworks and with a final diminuendo that had the hairs standing up on my arms, it illustrated just how far the orchestra has developed and hints at what is to come.

I was delighted to have time to chat to Bjorn as well. He clearly loves the orchestra and has a vision for how to bring out the best from everyone. I wholeheartedly support that and I’m particularly looking forward to hearing him lead the band in some of his own great- grandfather’s music – with or without 12 harps!

Further reaction

The concert had begun with a warm welcome to the cathedral from The Very Revd Chris Dalliston, Dean of Peterborough who said afterwards “It was a delight to welcome the City of Peterborough Symphony Orchestra to perform in our great Cathedral. The building comes alive with music and it certainly did on this wonderful occasion with such a rich and beautiful programme.”

The Dean of Peterborough

"I thoroughly enjoyed the concert, it was amazing to hear the majestic Cathedral reverberating with the equally majestic music. Personally, Brahms' Academic Festival Overture was especially fitting as I've just finished my A-levels, and although I play cello, I have to admit that the Cor Anglais has the best tune in Dvorak's New World Symphony!"

Miriam (18) student and cello player

At the height of the Summer Solstice a near packed Cathedral of enthusiasts were truly entertained by our orchestra with its wide ranging programme of particularly splendid music. The evening opened with Brahms ‘Academic festival overture’, itself a stirring piece of celebratory sound which brought to the fore the best of our French horn, oboe and bassoon players. This was followed by the inspirational Rachmaninov’s ‘Piano Concerto No 2’ with special guest, pianist Katya Apekisheva, providing us with a virtuoso performance of this uplifting and passionate piece. Then to end our enjoyment it was a pleasure to hear Dvorak’s ‘New World Symphony’ beautifully performed by the entire orchestra with Conductor Bjorn Bantock

clearly demonstrating his affection for this much-loved work.Though I am an enthusiast for most classical music I do concern myself that I am no expert so have previously been somewhat hesitant about giving my thoughts on the quality of performance but was oozing about Saturday night’s achievements. It was splendid. I certainly felt that in the time I have been a Friend this was the CPSO’s most splendid performance and it was encouraging to hear or read afterwards so many enthusiastic comments. e.g “We really enjoyed it”, “It was amazing”. “An amazing concert”. “Absolutely loved it” “I have signed up to become a friend of the Orchestra”. I think the orchestra has gained a lot of new fans.

Kevin Wilde Chair of the Friends of the CPSO


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