** Positive Notes about Various Concerts **

Season - 2017/2018

(as reviewed by Roger Swann )

See also reviews of other seasons

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16th Aug 2018 - 12:30 hrs - Music at the Minster - Lunchtime Concert Woodbury Wind,

The Minster, Axminster, Devon

Roger Swann = horn

Your reviewer's first performance in Devon proved to be a most enjoyable occasion. A large and enthusiastic audience enjoyed both the playing and the excellent lunch provided by hard working church volunteers that followed.

A varied and tuneful programme which was perfect for the event included an attractive arrangement of the first movement of Ein Kleine Nacht Musik dleightfully arranged for wind octet by Graham Sheen.

Andrew Skirrow's arrangement of tunes from Gershwin's Porgy and Bess also works very well and seemed particularly popular with the audience.

It was a pleasure to by a tiny part of the 34th Season of lunch time concerts in this beautiful building.

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30th July 2018 - 20:00 hrs - The Strung Out Sisters

The Real Ale Classroom, Leicester

Booked for a private birthday celebration, these three ladies provided the high quality performance that has become their trademark over the years.

Good, varied, string playing, excellent harmony singing and a wide range of "standard" songs coupled with an attractive presentration (and the odd visual outfit gag) made them the perfect entertainment choice for this event.

Strung Out Sisters
( Photograph: Jo Conquest )

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22nd July 2018 - 19:00 hrs - BBC Prom 11 - BBC National Orchestra of Wales - Southend Boys Choir - Southend Girls Choir - BBC National Chorus of Wales - BBC Symphony Chorus - London Symphony Chorus - Thomas Sondergard

Royal Albert Hall, London

Mahler's Symphony No. 8 (Symphony of a thousand) is always an occasion. It's a feast of sound. The symphony is perhaps guilty of meandering a little but who cares !

This was your reviewer's first use of the "Weekend Pass" that is available for the proms. A great great weekend!

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22nd July 2018 - 11:00 hrs - BBC Prom 10 - Iveta Apkkalna (organ)

Royal Albert Hall, London

Having a weekend at the proms gave your reviewer the chance to hear the Royal Albert Hall organ under the hands of master organist.

What an amazing concert! From the quietest "off stage" sounds to full throttle floor shaking bass, this hour long session had it all and as a result time flew by.

The party piece was Thalben-Ball's variations on a theme of paganini which is a study for pedals (only). How did she do this?

The organ lends itself to long chords and allows resolution and disolution as notes change over time. This was particularly apparent in the juicy chords of Thierry Escaich's Deux Evocations.

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21st July 2018 - 19:30 hrs - BBC Prom 9 - The World Orchestra For Peace - BBC Proms Youth Choir - Donald Runnicles - Erin Wall (sop), Judit Kutasi (alto), Russell Thomas (tenor) and Franz-Josef Selig (baritone)

Royal Albert Hall, London

Under Donald Runnicles this orchestra sounded like a group of players who had played together for years (the opposite is the case in reality).

Beethoven Symphony No. 9 was outstanding. Fast tempos, good soloists and choir, great fourth horn playing in the slow movement, Donald Runnicles communicated the power of the piece by really using the dynamics to great effect.

The concert opened with a sweet but pleasing work (a welcome change from a standard overture) for the choir by Eriks Esenvalds (conducted by Simon Halsey).

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21st July 2018 - 15:00 hrs - BBC Proms at the Roundhouse - London Sinfonietta - George Benjamin - Susan Bickley (mezzo)

The Roundhouse, Cambden, London

The Roundhouse is the perfect venue for a London Sinfonietta prom. It even looks like the Albert Hall (a small version therof)!

This typical London Sinfonietta program featured four world premiers. On this occasion these were outshone by some of the 20th centuary classics.

The really hushed atmospheric off stage string playing that opened Charles Ive's The Unanswered Question was matched in technical control by the solo trumpet of Alistair Mackie. Later, Messiaen's "Et Exspecto Resurectionem mortuorum" filled the auditorium with the unique sound colour of this amazing composer. It was both awe inspiring and deafening.

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20th July 2018 - 19:30 hrs - BBC Prom 8 - BBC National Orchestra of Wales - Thomas Sondergard - Bertrand Chamayou (piano)

Royal Albert Hall, London

A rare chance to hear music by Ms Mofydd Owen (1891-1918), her "Nocturne" was rather beautiful and rather romantic (at times like a welsh Rachmaninov).

After Bertrand Chamayou's very fleet of foot account of Mendelssohn's Piano Concerto No. 1 in G min (op25) one is left wondering why this attractive melodic piece is not heard more frequently. As well as the vivacious finale Bertrand Chamayou tastefully gave us a whispy but lyrical slow movement.

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15th July 2018 - 13:00 hrs - SCAW - Andrew Graves

Recital Hall, Nottingham High School

Sarah Watts and Antony Clare play with complete commitment and equally complete synchronisation which makes for captivating music making of the highest quality.

This was a chance to hear Sarah Watts demonstrate the power of her contra-bass clarinet. In her hands this is a verstatile instrument capable of muscular fleet of foot punches and a gentle warm pianissimo.

It was great to have Elizabeth Kelly in the audience to hear her piece "Into the Depths" for contra-bass clarinet and piano receive it's UK premiere.

Antony Clare, The contra-bass clarinet & Sarah Watts.

SCAW duo

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14th July 2018 - 15:00 hrs - East Midlands COMA Ensemble - Antony Clare

All Hallows Church, West Bridgford, Nottingham

Roger Swann = horn, voic, ocarina, triangle, hand drum and litter bin

A welcome chance to reprise his role on the litter bin and ocarina in Treavor Wright's "Reap what you sow" (first performed on 4th March 2018 (see below)) was particularly enjoyed by your reviewer. Other second performances from March (Clare Stewart's Nottingham Geographical Fugue, Kevin Jackson's Looking Through the Fingers, Elvire Robert's Crysis 1 and John Humphreys Quaggle) were also all worthy of repeat.

It shows the strength and experience of the group that two of the most successful works were based strongly on improvisation ("Homage to Nils Harbo" by Carl Bergstroem-Nielson and the graphic score "Lovely Piece of Music" by Paul Burnell).

Coma EastMidlands Performers: Andrew Chadwick, Anna Claydon, Antony Clare, Alan Jenkins, Colin Johnson, Rupert Kahn, David Machel, Clare Stewart, Roger Swann

Coma EastMidlands
( Photograph: Jenny Rea )

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Saturday 30th June 2018 19:30 hrs - The Charnwood Orchestra - Nic Fallowfield - Fenella Humphreys (violin)

St James The Greater Church, Leicester

Nic Fallowfield always draws a fine string sound from his orchestra and here thiswas used to great effect in Korngold's rarely heard Violin Concerto. Soloist, Fenella Humphreys enjoyed really long phrasing (and a very powerful G stringsound that could be heard above the full orchestra) getting right into this ultra romantic sound world.

Ending the concert (and their season) with Tchaikovsky's 6th Symphony ("Pathetique") allowed further passion to be got out of the system. It's a fantastic last movement for the viola section and the bass trombone (Steve Eyley).

Good to enjoy a bottle of Castle Rock Brewary's Harvest Pale during the interval.

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Friday 29th June 2018 19:30 hrs - The Jubilee Singers - Richard Archer - Mathew Ainge (organ) - Ian Imlay (organ)

St John the Baptist Church, Hungarton, Leics

The Jubilee Singers demonstrated their flexibility by singing a varied range of songs

It's always very enjoyable to hear small church organs being used to play great music. Both organists (Mathew Ainge and Iam Imlay) pushed this organ to it's limits.

As usual at Hungarton the interval refreshments were first class.

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Saturday 23rd June 2018 19:30 hrs - The Nottingham Philharmonic Orchestra - Mark Heron - Monica Toll (soprano)

Southwell Minster, Southwell, Notts

Roger Swann = horn

A full house found the orchestra on fine form. This orchestra has strong players in allsections (particularly enjoyable contributions from Phil Smith on bass clarinet and Dave Olderswaw on contra-bass clarinet (in Colin Mathew's' arrangement of Debussy's la Cathedrale Engloutie)).

It was great to play Strauss' Tod und Verklarung and Wagner's Prelude and Liebestod fromTristan and Isolde in a horn section where everyone was playing Alexander Horns.

Horn section: Dave Leeder (principal), Ted Slater, Richard Madin, Roger Swann (guest 4th horn) and Andrea Hemmett

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Saturday 2nd June 2018 19:30 hrs - Rails

The Theatre by the Lake

Excellent use of minimal sets in the initimate "studio" theatre at this wonderful venue was combined with excellent acting by the four players to create a fascinating and thought provoking evening of theatre.

It is a strength of the Theatre by the Lake that they program plays such as this as part of their summer season.

On stage: Christine Entwisle (Deb), Oliver Mott (Ben), Lydea Perkins (Sarah), Toby Vaughan (Mike). Director: Clive Judd. Writer: Simon Longman.

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Sunday 27th May 2018 16:00 hrs - The Leicester Symphony Orchestra - Hackney Festival Chorus - Choeurs Resonances Suresnes - John Andrews - Eglantine Chatard (soprano) - Thomas Monnot (baritone)

Eglise du Coeur Immacule de Marie, Suresnes, Paris, France

Roger Swann = horn

A repeat of yesterday's concert but this time in the home church of Choeurs Resonances Suresnes and hence to a large and very enthusiastic audience.

The church did suffer from a remarkable echo which meant all the orchestra could do was follow John Andrews' beat and hope for a good result. But the audience loved it!

If the church echo was close to overpowering, so was the shared buffet aftewards: a very impressive array of quality salads and a wide range of french cheeses was paired with copious excellent wine.

Horn section (left to right) Maxence Bur, Nicolas Ramez, Vianney Prodhomme, Roger Swann (principal)

The Leicester symphony orchestra horn section for Paris 2018
( Photograph: Sue Mee )

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Saturday 26th May 2018 20:30 hrs - The Leicester Symphony Orchestra - Hackney Festival Chorus - Choeurs Resonances Suresnes - John Andrews - Eglantine Chatard (soprano) - Thomas Monnot (baritone)

Cathedrale Americaine, Paris, France

Roger Swann = horn

It was an honour to be invited to join the Leicester Symphony Orchestra for their trip to Paris to perform Dona Nobis Pacem (Ralph Vaughan Williams) with the compbined forces of an English choir (like the orchestra, regualarly conducted by John Andrews) and a French choir (chorus master Jean-Michel Chatard).

As an additional bonus for your reviewer Tchaikovsky's 5th Symphony was also on the programme. Always a pleasure to perform this was made still more enjoyable by the presence of three fine horn players from Paris filling holes left by members of the orchestra's regular horn section being unable to travel.

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16th May 2018 - 19:30 hrs - The London Sinfonietta - Peter Rundel - Mark Van de Wiel (clarninet) - Donatienne Michel-Dansac (soprano)

Queen Elizabeth Hall, London

50 years to the day since the first concert given by the LondonSinfonietta this evening was always going to have some additional emotionalweight. The first half was conducted by one of the founders: David Athertonwith his original founding colleague, Nicholas Snowman also in the audience (he came on stage to wish the ensemble well for the next fifty years).

This was what the London Sinfonietta do best (and at which they are amongst the best in the world for). A concert of four pieces: two world premiers, one UK premier and one a London premier. All requiring, and getting, virtuosic performance.

Emma Wilde's "El Blanco Dia" for solo clarinet (Mark Van de Wiel - what dynamic range!) based on the contrast of a rhythmic pedal motif against remarkable pianissimo upper register themes was followed by a startling performance by soprano Donatienne Michel-Dansac (extraordinary vocal technique with spoken and other sounds) backed by colourful orchestration which left you wondering where different sounds were coming from. The piece was "Skin" by Rebecca Saunders and amongst so many original features was the use of the accordian to create some great sustained notes (Ian Watson).

The two pieces after the interval, Charlotte Bray's "Reflections in Time" (using the largest forces of the evening) and Unsuk Chin's "Cosmigimmicks" both showed imaginative orchestration as well. All in all, a fascinating programme of effective and attractive music perfomed perfectly.

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13th May 2018 - 15:00 hrs - The Bardi Symphony Orchestra - Claus Efland (conductor) - Marina Chiche (violin) - Guy Johnston ('cello) - Tom Poster (piano)

de Montfort Hall, Leicester

Roger Swann = horn

The Bardi Orchestra pulled out all the stops under the inspirational conducting of Claus Efland(who really seems to understand what Strauss is getting at) in this performance of Ein Heldenleben.All members of the band seemed to be on form for this gig. Leader, Adam Summerhayes perfectly capturedthe soothing but at times slightly scatty personality of Strauss' wife, Pauline in his prolonged solo passages.

My esteemed colleague, Mark Penny, on Principal Horn did a great job (and no bumper !)

I'd like to quote the reaction of Barry Collett, a knowledgeable friend who was in the audience:

"I thought Ein Heldenleben went splendidly. It's bombastic, over-ripe, self-indulgent, smug, overblown and wildly over the top - and I love it!"

Horn section:

Back row left to right: Rachel McLoughlin, Richard Madin, Alexander Boukikov, Roger Swann

Front row left to right: Roz Saunders, Sam Walker, Julian Haslam, Mark Penny (Principal)

The bardi orchestra horn section for Ein Heldenleben
( Photograph: Robert Calow (using your reviewer's camera))

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12th May 2018 - 19:30 hrs - The Rutland Sinfonia - Paul Hillian - Anne Bolt (piano)

Oakham School Chapel, Oakkham, Rutland

A lovely light touch from assured soloist Anne Bolt with some attractive phrasing made the performance of Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 20 (K466) a joy.

The Rutland Sinfonia are known to program repertoire just a little off the beaten track and Arther Bliss' "Checkmate Suite" is certainly in this category. What a wonderful colourful score!Some sections are like fairground music and others have a sensual oriental feel. The leader, Katherine Collison, captured the style of Bliss perfectly in her solos and there was a mourneful dark toned cor anglais solo played by Sally Griffiths which deserves a mention.

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2nd May 2018 - 19:30 hrs - The Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra - Kirill Karabits - Sunwook Kim (piano)

The Lighthouse, Poole, Dorset.

Kirill Karabits has great confidence in his orchestra, choosing to aim for a polished subtle interpretation in both Haydn's Symphony No. 100 ("Military") and Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 2 in Bflat.

The use of natural trumpets ensured that his sophistication was at all times delicately balanced. This was a concert where the orchestral sound was smooth throughout. Most enjoyable.

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28th April 2018 - 19:30 hrs - Crows

Hungarton Village Hall, Hungarton, Leics.

The folk band "Crows" has a long illustrious history and a complicated personel change sequence. However three of the core members Mick Ryan, James Patterson and Dave Bordewey are back together, along with a (relative) newcomer: Paul Downes (guitar, banjo and harmony vocals). The locals from this small village turned out for this initmate gig and were presented with some top class singing backed up by fluent instrumental breaks.

Singing (and playing) without any amplification meant that the subtlety and quality of the performance could be enjoyed to the full. Those who turn their noses up at "folk music" should get to hear the Crows.

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4th April 2018 - 19:00 hrs - Coraline

The Barbican Theatre, Barbican, London.

Mark-Anthony Turnage's latest opera presented at the Barbican Theatre by The Royal Opera House featured the Britten Sinfonia tightly directed by Sian Edwards.

Very interesting (and rare these days) to go to a ROH opera without surtitles,but Robyn Allegra Parton singing the title role got all her words across well (perhaps this is also a tribute to the composer's skill at keeping the orcehstration light?)

A neat set design (with no video gimics) kept the pace moving (set design: Giles Cadle)

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24th March 2018 - 19:30 hrs - The Charnwood Orchestra - Nic Fallowfield - Elizabeth Ryder (soprano)

Emmanuel Church, Loughborough

Roger Swann = horn

The Charnwood orchestra's ablilty to tackle musical and technical challenges was never better demonstrated than this evening.

Berg's magically luscious "Seven Early Songs" were sung with power,passion and fluidity by the wonderful Elizabeth Ryder.

Nic Fallowfield demonstrated his in depth knowledge of Beethoven's PastoralSymphony quickly securing the orchestra on the one occasion where a mistimed entryslightly "rocked the boat" but at the same time having a clear sense of when to encourage restraint from the ensemble, giving the terrific storm climax all the more impact.

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21st March 2018 - 19:30 hrs - The Hougton Singers - Alan Herringshaw - Bob Brown (tenor ) - Clive Carlin (baritone) - Malcolm Lomax (organ)

St Catharine's Church, Houghton on the Hill

Houghton Music Club often surprises with it's creativity, here programming Sir John Stainer's "The Crucifixion" to tie in with the coming Easter.

The guests soloists were fine, the audience participation that Stainerrequests often less so, with the relatively unknown (in the present age) hymns proving a challenge for your reviewer and the many people around him.

The real joy was to hear St Catharine's organ (much under used) in full swing in the capable hands (and feet?) of Malcolm Lomax

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17th March 2018 - 19:30 hrs - Derby Bach Choir - Richard Roddis - Clare Devine (sop) - Greg Skidmore (bariton)

Derby Cathedral, Derby

Roger Swann = horn

Starting with the emotive "Shropshire Lad" (George Butterworth) and Vaughan Williams'"Five Mystical Songs" the real core of this concert was the second half, Brahms' German Requiem.The strong chorus responded to Richard Roddis when he encouraged solid forte singing. Not afraidto allow tempos to ebb and flow to suit the music, Richard Roddis had thought out is interpretation of this remarkable work with care and attention to detail.

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7th March 2018 - 19:30 hrs - Leicester Gilbert & Sullivan Society - The Mikado

The Little Theatre, Leicester

One of the greatest G&S operetta's The Mikado is always easy to enjoy.Great melodies and some very witty lyrics (with the "I've got a little list" amusingly updated by the producer, Stephen Bruce).

The quality of the singing on stage was good, helped by a consistently, tight and intune orchestra (MD: Rosie Curtis).

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4th March 2018 - 18:15 hrs - East Midlands COMA Ensemble - Nottingham DIY Poets

Fraser Noble Hall, Leicester

Roger Swann = horn, ocarina, triangle and litter bin

The culmination of two days workshop produced seven pieces which were performed to a select but erudite audience

Characteristic of an East Midlands COMA concert the works were very varied, both in terms of style and in terms of content.

The whole weekend was directed by Antony Clare with a huge amount of behind the scenes organisation provided by Anna Claydon.

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10th Feb 2018 - 19:30 hrs - Helix Ensemble - Mark Heron (Musical Director) - Caroline Taylor (Soprano)

St Andrews Church, Countesthorpe, Leicestershire

Roger Swann = horn

Ms Taylor also provided the class end to the chamber orchestraarrangement of Mahler's Symphony No. 4 that formed the second half of the concert.

Still studying, but already possessing a the ability to express thelyrics and the music to the audience (without it feeling at all forced ordominant), Caroline Taylor is clearly a name to watch out for. Backed up bysome energetic (where appropriate) string playing in Britten's "Les Illuminations"her singing entranced the good sized audience.

The concert was promoted by the enterprising organisation of volunteers, Active Arts . Their confidence in programming music worthy of performance that stretches their audience (as well as entertain and move) is repayed by the large numbers of supporters their events attract.

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24th Jan 2018 - 19:30 hrs - The London Sinfonietta - "Unfinished Business - We're 50"

Royal Festival Hall, London

50 years to the day since the first concert given by the LondonSinfonietta this evening was always going to have some additional emotionalweight. The first half was conducted by one of the founders: David Athertonwith his original founding colleague, Nicholas Snowman also in the audience (he came on stage to wish the ensemble well for the next fifty years).

Starting with music by Birtwistle (who was also in the hall),Stravinsky and Ligeti played to the highest levels of perfection (as always)did mean that the three world premiers and one "London Premier" in the secondhalf had a tough act to follow. Never was it more obvious what a privilege itis for composers to have their music premiered by players of the London Sinfonietta. If it doesn't sound good when they play it, it never will !

A neat solution to the conundrum of how to end such an event came inthe form of "Encore", a set of variations on a Hornpipe by Purcell, eachfeaturing a different soloist from the ensemble and each composed by adifferent composer, all being curated by John Woolrich. On paper this sounds chaotic but in practice it all melded together rather well.

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21st Jan 2018 - 15:00 hrs Knighton Chamber Orchestra - Paul Jenkins (conductor) - Charlotte Howes (soprano) - Liam Karai (baritone)

Fraser Noble Hall, Leicester

Mahler's Kindertontenlieder is a rarity on the concert platform. Itmust be significantly rarer that it is used as the opening piece in a concertand perhaps the first time ever that it was followed without a break by Ravel'sPavane pour une infante defunte. Such an innovative plan makes the concert achallenge for the first horn (handled with consumate assurance by Roz Saunders)but actually did make very good musical sense. Charlotte Howes emphasised themelancholy of the songs, saving her passionate power for the storm in the final song.

The concert also featured the first performance of KCO cellist AnneMee's work "Tralee Jane Suite" scored for strings, flute and clarinet. Thissubstantial piece (three movements) was attractively crafted, included a goodominous bass line at the end of the slow movement and finished with a jig in7/8 time that still managed to sound Scottish! A neighbour in the audienceremarked that "the 7/8 'worked' rather than feeling as if it was written in theunusual time signature just to show off"). An impressive achievement by the composer.

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20th Jan 2018 - 19:30 hrs - The Voyage of the Stinky Cheese - The Main Street Theatre Company

Village Hall, Great Glen, Leicestershire

This "perfectly pongy pirate pantomine" was great fun for all theaudience. All the adult leads were excellent, the one liners were corney and there was lots of singing and dancing and custard pies.

Great to see lots of younger folk involved too. Little stars, Mya andOliver Kent (playing "Wiff and Pong") were magical and the solo singing byGemma Salmon (playing Khloe) was particularly expressive with good intonation.

Sound and lighting cues were very tight throughout. It was wonderfulthat the company chose to avoid any amplification so that the subtlety of the performer's acting and singing could be enjoyed by all.

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13th Jan 2018 - 19:00 hrs - The Charnwood Orchestra - Nic Fallowfield

Humphrey Perkins Community Centre, Barrow upon Soar

Roger Swann = horn

The Charnwood orchestra's regular "New Years" concert always seems to include some rarely performed gems and this year's was no exception.

The first half started with Ferdinand Herold's overture to his opera"Zampa" and the first piece of the second half was Richard Heuberger's Overture: "Der Opernball"

Both pieces are packed through with good tunes and fast tempos. Bothfitted perfectly with the remainder of the concert programme, making the whole event a joyous occasion for the audience

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16th Dec 2017 - 18:45 hrs - Festival of Light

Borrowash Methodist Church, Borrowash, Derbyshire

Roger Swann = sound desk

Your reviewer's first ever outing as a sound engineer went fairlysmoothly. It was great to be part of this annual Christmas event which showcases the talented violin pupils of Sarah Cresswell and gives everyone (of all ages) the chance to sing some carols.

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13th Dec 2017 - 18:30 hrs - Semiramide

The Royal Opera House , Covent Garden, London.

Rossini's music is exquisite from start to finish. Some great singing(particularly the duets between Semiramide and Assur (Joyce Didonato andMichele Pertusi (trouser role)) on stage but the real star of the show was theorchestra's piccolo player who played a very prominent part with delicacy and precision which was just out of this world.

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2nd Dec 2017 - 16:30 hrs - Winter Concert II - Leicester-shire Schools Music Service

Holy Trinity Church, Leicester

A good way to get into a Christmas mood is by enjoying inspiringperformances by young people. If some of them sport tinsell on their hair, somuch the better ! Highlights of this pleasurable event included the StringSinfonia (director: Mike Shaw)[ especially the six violas ] and the tightrhythmic performance by the LMCT Junior Percussion Ensemble (director: KierenO'Riordan) [ especially "Unity" arranged by one of the members of the ensemble, Oliver Clarke ].

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25th Nov 2017 - 19:30 hrs - Helix Ensemble - David Greed (Musical Director and Violin) - David Aspin (Viola) -

St Mary's Church, Clifton, Nottinghamshire

Roger Swann = horn

David Greed does know how to keep a relaxed atmosphere yet still getsome great musical performances from his musicians. Working with his OperaNorth colleague, David Aspin for Mozart's Sinfonia Concertante allowed everyone to enjoy the wonderful dialog that Mozart offers between the two soloists.

It was great fun to have the chance to play Haydn's Symphony No. 22(The Philosopher) with the rare orchestration of two cor anglais. What an awesome sound ! (Vicky Price and Anne Allcock)

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23rd Nov 2017 - 19:30 hrs - The Secret Theatre

Sam Wanamaker Playhouse , Shakespeare's Globe, London

A new play by Anders Lustgarten set in the time of Elizabeth I andshowing how corrupt the politics of the day were. Interesting but one neverreally got to the point where one cared about any of the characters so it felt a little lacking in dramatic tension.

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18th Nov 2017 - 19:30 hrs - The Charnwood Orchestra - Nic Fallowfield - Allan Schiller (piano)

Emmanuel Church, Loughborough

Roger Swann = horn

A good sized audience enjoyed Allan Schiller's performance ofTchaikovsky's First Piano Concerto. It was great to play this work with someone who so obviously enjoyed the chance to play to his audience.

The concert also included the fifth symphony by Glazunov with it'sexquisite second movement perhaps being the highlight of this rarely performed work.

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17th Nov 2017 - 19:30 hrs - The Tim Kliphuis Trio

St Catharine's Church, Houghton on the Hill

An awesome evening of subtle (but not academic) playing from threemusicians with a very obvious empathy for each other's playing style and forthe music they presented. Much of the music evolved from borrowed sources, butit did so in a way that made organic sense (always a feel of moving forward and developing ideas) and yet still remained true to the original.

Guitarist Nigel Clark (playing on a conventional classical guitar) wasamazingly fleet-of-foot in some virtuosic solos and it was all very sensitively underpinned by bass player Roy Percy and his plywood travelling bass.

To get a trio of this calibre to perform in Houghton on the Hill was a real coup for the Houghton Music Club.

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4th Nov 2017 - 18:00 hrs - The London Sinfonietta - "Turning Points: Berio"

Kings Place, London

After too long a break your reviewer finally got a chance to get tohear the London Sinfonietta again. Celebrating their 50th Season this concerthad an additional significance as it was the last concert for John Constable asthe ensemble's "Emeritus Principal Piano". John Constable was the lastremaining ensemble member who was in the original line up fifty years ago. A remarkable achievement by a remarkable pianist and gentleman.

The concert was divided into two distinct parts. Firstly there was achance to enjoy amateur and students playing alongside the top professionals,something that would definitely have appealed to Berio. The violinists selectedfrom teh Waltham Forest Music Service and the Kuumba Youth Orchestra visiblyenjoyed working with Darragh Morgan as they took it in turns to play Berio'sviolin duets. Another hightlight was Paul Silverthorne's solo viola in Berio'sE si fussi pisci. His tone here was warm and sunny and a perfect fit for Berio's music.

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28th Oct 2017 - 19:30 hrs - The City Of Leicester Singers - The Charnwood Orchestra - Richard Archer - Caroline Palmer (soprano) - Andrew Ashwin (baritone)

Church of St. James the Greater, Leicester

Roger Swann = horn

The concert provided a chance to enjoy the rarely performed Te Deum by Dvorák. This does have a good rousing ending !

The main work in the programme was Brahms sublime German Requiem. Thevery comprehensive concert programme indicated that Andrew Ashwin's health isas good as his voice: he has successfully completed the iron man triathlon.

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15th Oct 2017 - 15:00 hrs Nottingham Philharmonic Orchestra - Mark Heron (conductor) - Ben Goldscheider (horn)

Albert Hall, Nottingham

A chance to hear the BBC Young Musician brass finalist, BenGoldscheider playing Strauss 2 was definitely something not to be missed. Thisyoung man makes a wonderful "Alexander" horn sound. It was a joy to hear him "waltz through" this fantastic but fiendishly tricky concerto.

Doing exactly what quality amateur orchestras should be doing, the NPOprogrammed a less frequently performed symphony as the second half of theconcert. They played Nielson's 5th Symphony with great style, getting theswinging phrasing that is so distinctive of the composer in the glorious longphrases perfectly; they also captured the pianissimo agitated but insecure moments too.

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14th Oct 2017 - 19:30 hrs Operatic Arias - Derek Williams (conductor) - Il Bel Quatrto Vocal Quartet - Naomi Quant (soprano)

Beeston Parish Church, Beeston, Nottingham

Roger Swann = horn

Arranged as part of the Oxjam Beeston Music Festival (with all proceedsgoing to Oxfam) this concert was a chance to play some of the great operaticshow pieces. The huge task of putting this all together was down to GeoffHarbach (the bass of the Il Bel Quatro quartet). The singers relished thechance to sing some of these great tunes with orchestral backing and guestsoprano, Naomi Quant, with her professionally trained soprano voice was just the icing on the cake.

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30th Sept 2017 - 19:30 hrs Knighton Chamber Orchestra - Paul Jenkins (conductor) - Richard Meads (Tuba) - Fenella Humphreys (violin)

Fraser Noble Hall, Leicester

Roger Swann = horn (Shostakovich)

Paul Jenkins is never one to shy away from varied concert programmingor programmes where the real meat of the performance is in the last piece played.

This evening the rarity was the American Arthur Frankenpohl's TubaConcerto. A short, tuneful work which allowed soloist Richard Meads to demonstrate is technical skill in the entire range of the tuba.

An enjoyable performance of Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf (narratorAndrew Radford) featured various young children acting out the roles of thestory. It was very charming and also gave youngsters and parents a chance to sample what was to follow.

What followed was certainly worth sampling! Fenella Humphreys gave astunning performance of Shostakovich's Violin Concerto No. 1. From the siberianintensity of the opening movement to the terrifyingly fast scherzo through theelaborate cadenza and with the climax of the finale every note carried emotional weight. The audience, like the players, were shell shocked.

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23rd Sept 2017 - 19:30 hrs - The Charnwood Orchestra - Nic Fallowfield - Timothy Taylorson (flute)

Holy Trinity Church, Barrow upon Soar

Continuing their tradition of opening the season with a chamberorchestra programme, this concert included a very energetic "Dance of theFuries" by Gluck, surely the inspiration for some of Wagner's more energetic string writing?.

The concert ended with a joyful account of Schubert's fifth symphony which included a delightfully playful rubato in the third movment trio.

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22nd Sept 2017 - 19:30 hrs - Leicester International Music Festival - Event 4 - LIMF Festival Ensemble

Museum & Art Gallery, Leicester

The Leicester International Music Festival continues to delivery chamber music of the highest quality in Leicester.

From the opening bars to the final chord Charles Owen and KatyaApekisheva performance of Bach's Passacaglia and Fugue in C minor, BWV582 asarranged by Max Reger had power, weight and depth as well as great precision

The same could equally be said for the festival ensembles performanceof Schumann's Piano Quintet in E flat Op 44. (really gritty tone from violist Richard O'Neil).

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See also reviews of other seasons

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