“This concert was an outstanding achievement, under the faultless guidance of conductor Nicholas Concannon Hodges, and leader Andrew Rostron. This orchestra is going from strength to strength and is able to tackle the most demanding music. Residents are fortunate to hear such first-class performances on their doorstep, and long may they continue.”
A remarkable concert of 19th century masterpieces was presented by Todmorden Orchestra to a packed Todmorden Town Hall on Saturday. The orchestra seems to have an even more assured delivery as it embarks on its 2012/13 season.
The programme was launched traditionally with an overture. Dvorak’s In Nature’s Realm deserves to be more widely known. A ramble through Hardcastle Crags comes to mind: the abundance of fresh air, perfectly captured by gossamer strings and wind allowed piquant solos for oboe and cor anglais to waft effortlessly through the richly-harmonious ‘fresh air’! All round there was great sensitivity.
A brilliant tour de force followed with Mendelssohn’s great and popular violin concerto. This was performed by a gifted soloist from Brazil, Leon Keuffer, at present a student at Chetham’s School of Music. At just 17, his career is one to watch. A sweet, magical tone drew the audience in for a rare and moving performance of formidable flair and poignancy. Even at such a tender age, he produced moments of almost unbearable emotional intensity. His technical accomplishment created security in musicians and audience alike, as we revelled in a truly uplifting journey. This is the highest achievement of great music making.
Not surprisingly, for the second half, the orchestra was emboldened, finding renewed inspiration and vigour. Brahms’ Fourth Symphony is monumental, making great demands on the players. The fine balance previously mentioned was again evident.
The highly original first movement was suitably powerful and dramatic. The second brought exquisite horn-playing, and some of the finest ensemble work from the strings I have ever heard in Todmorden.
The popular third movement Scherzo is very accessible, and was executed with panache. The concluding movement (really a large set of variations on a chorale theme) develops into a characteristic Brahmsian sound-world of epic proportions.
This concert was an outstanding achievement, under the faultless guidance of conductor Nicholas Concannon Hodges, and leader Andrew Rostron. This orchestra is going from strength to strength and is able to tackle the most demanding music. Residents are fortunate to hear such first-class performances (and programmes) on their doorstep, and long may they continue.