“As the wintry weather raged around Todmorden Town Hall on Saturday night those who attended the Spring concert by Todmorden Orchestra were treated to an evening of stirring, passionate and reflective music.”
As the wintry weather raged around Todmorden Town Hall on Saturday night those who attended the Spring concert by Todmorden Orchestra were treated to an evening of stirring, passionate and reflective music.
The concert began with an overture by Berlioz “Les Franc-juges”. A lengthy austere opening reminded us of the power entrusted to judges. The brass thrilled and the music was passionate. The lively familiar theme was well played and the climax at the conclusion was compelling
Rachael Gibbon then performed Spohr’s Clarinet Concerto in C minor. The reflective opening movement enabled the smooth playing and tone of the soloist to be heard, and the balance between soloist and orchestra was well maintained. The technically difficult passages were assured and the beautiful melodic writing in the short slow movement was sensitively played. The rondo finale has clever interaction with the orchestra and there were cheerful musical ideas with different orchestral colours in the accompaniment. With no virtuoso cadenza the concerto ended quietly.
In Dvorak’s Eighth Symphony in G major the dark opening was controlled and full of emotion. The orchestra settled into the mood of the work with bright climaxes and vigorous energetic playing when required. The second movement was full of drama and passion and the woodwind section was particularly pleasing throughout. The short violin solo by leader Andrew Rostron came through beautifully and turbulent interludes were played with passion.
The melancholy third movement has a soaring melody for the upper strings and again the woodwind section displayed skill in accompanying while the cross-rhythms of the middle section were tightly controlled by the conductor.
The clarion call from trumpets that begins the final movement leads into a melody from cellos and horns, played with much feeling. In the following variations the solo flute was especially noteworthy. There was energetic playing in the dramatic development before the return of the trumpet fanfare, now with full orchestral forces. The return to the opening theme, with further variations, is interrupted by energetic music leading to a rousing and triumphal ending, making this one of the most popular symphonies in the repertoire.
So as the audience made its way home in the perilous conditions there was at least the comfort of knowing that a splendid evening’s music had been enjoyed.