“The support given by the orchestra was never allowed to do anything but complement the soloist and it was a privilege to hear its performance and to join in the well-deserved applause.”
The drum-roll which heralded the playing of the National Anthem at the start of Todmorden Orchestra’s Autumn concert may have surprised some of the pleasingly large audience and given a small minority the chance to show their non-allegiance, but the majestic quality of the music that followed came as no surprise to the regular listeners of the orchestra. It has risen over the past years from a standard of competence to one of continued excellence.
The first item in the performance was Handel’s Water Music and it took us on a royal trip down the river. Although there was an initial wavering, the music flowed throughout the six movements with excellent direction and an impressive contribution from the string section.
The entrance of horn soloist Evgeny Chebykin was an example to all potential soloists. An engagingly warm smile and confident composure indicated all the essential aspects of the relationship of performer and audience. We waited in anticipation of, and received, a wonderful performance of Richard Strauss’s Horn Concerto No. 1. Strauss probably composed the concerto with his horn-playing father in mind, and the three movements continue without respite but with apparent ease.
The soloist’s phrasing never faltered as he took us through the contrasting moods. The support given by the orchestra was never allowed to do anything but complement the soloist and it was a privilege to hear its performance and to join in the well-deserved applause. Nicholas Concannon Hodges does not follow the line of “Flash Harry” style of conducting, preferring to control the orchestra with meticulous care and observation. Never tempted to let forte drift into fortissimo, the attracts credit for contributing so much to another evening of high class music played by instrumentalists who are keen to please and follow his lead. A previous report praised leader Andrew Rostron almost to the point of embarrassment for this unassuming violinist. The special applause he received when he leaves the auditorium is superior to words.
The performance of the Symphony No. 2. by Brahms gave all sections of the orchestra a part to play in the varying themes of tranquility, melancholy and joy, of the different speeds and dynamics, and the triumphant ending in a blaze of totality. In the second movement the ensemble of the lower strings with the bassoons was outstanding and the young flautists producing some thrilling moments in the final movement. Highlighting those should not disappoint the rest of the players. The community benefits enormously from the performances of its musicians and those who support with their help. They deserve our gratitude.