This special programme – a musical celebration of the Queen’s 90th Birthday earlier this year – got off to a great start with an electrifying performance of Walton’s Crown Imperial March, which must surely have tugged at the heart-strings of even the most hardened antiroyalist.
Having got the party-mood in full swing, it then seemed a shame that the next couple of pieces did little or nothing to maintain this. Clearly these two works for strings only, were intended to give the brass section a vital breather, but there are, perhaps, some other options out there.
But bring on Ralph Vaughan Williams, and everything is back on track again, in the captivating form of his mini-concerto for violin and orchestra – The Lark Ascending. From the first to last note, this was an outstanding performance from New Zealand-born Benjamin Baker, despatched with such simple, heartfelt emotion, over a finely-contoured and immensely warm accompaniment from the orchestra.
From then on, the celebrations kicked off again with great aplomb, starting with Walton’s Charge and Battle from his Henry V Suite – wisely slotted in before the interval – to ensure everyone was back in real high spirits for Holst’s Jupiter, and finally Elgar’s glorious Enigma Variations. Here, conductor Anne Kimber could not have asked for more from her loyal subjects, led by Dawn Ashby, resulting in one of the orchestra’s most inspired performances to date.
PHILIP R BUTTALL
Artists of the South West Academy will bring together a new body of work focusing on paintings, photographs, prints and ceramics in an inspiring winter exhibition at THG (Thelma Hulbert Gallery).
Continue reading THG to host the Winter exhibition of the South West Art Academy
Even ‘Wild Women’ aren’t immune from the seasonal bugs doing the rounds at the moment, and which always hit singers hardest.
Continue reading Devon Baroque’s ‘Wild Women’ raised to even greater heights
Ten Tors Orchestra has just had a makeover, only to rise again under the banner of Peninsula Arts Sinfonietta, although admittedly any outward signs seem more political, than musical.
Continue reading New musical era begins with seamless, stylish and sensitive Peninsula Arts Sinfonietta
R&B and soul singer/songwriter Yojance got in touch with a few of his answers to our Artist Q&A. Originally from the Dominican Republic Yojance is making his way in New York with unique twist on Latin/Dance music. Find out what inspires him and what he see’s as the role of the artist in society. Take it away Yojance…
Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Yojance, I am singer, songwriter and producer. Continue reading ‘Push boundaries, ask questions and create beauty’: a Q&A with singer/songwriter Yojance
This stimulating bit-by-bit reassembly of the string-quartet medium, opened with a confident and expressive performance of the Sarabande and Double from Bach’s First Partita for solo violin, by quartet-leader Pierre-Emmanuel Largeron.
Continue reading Confident and expressive opening from Peninsula Arts String Quartet at Sherwell Centre
Present Makers 2016 is a vibrant selling exhibition presenting a new selection of craft makers whose work highlights the skill and diversity of craft across the South West region, and it’s on at the Thelma Hulbert Gallery (THG).
Continue reading Present Makers 2016 – the best of South West makers at the Thelma Hulbert Gallery
An exhibition of three-dimensional artwork that challenges visitors to rethink events in our shared history is to be launched by The National Museum of the Royal Navy’s (NMRN) artist in residence Helen Snell.
Continue reading Rethink our shared history: Helen Snell’s A Long Shadow exhibition at The National Museum of the Royal Navy Portsmouth
The 12th edition of the Peninsula Arts Contemporary Music Festival – taking place at Plymouth University from 24-26 February 2017 – will explore the reinvention of the human voice.
Continue reading Peninsula Arts Contemporary Music Festival 2017 explores the reinvention of the human voice
Chinese and Scandinavian artists, Xiaoguang Qiao and Karen Bit Vejle, will stage an exhibition of papercut art at the invitation of the Jersey Arts Trust.
Continue reading Paper Dialogues – The Dragon and Our Stories at Jersey Arts Trust
Performistanbul is a performance platform founded by Simge Burhanoğlu in 2015, with the aim to unite performance artists under one roof, and promote their participation in new projects.
Continue reading First international platform in Turkey to bring performance artists together
Orchestral concerts often include one concerto, but two are unusual, unless you’re talking shorter works from the Baroque. Three is virtually unheard of unless you happen to be Torbay Symphony Orchestra (TSO), who not only played the first three Beethoven Piano Concertos on one night, but followed this with the Fourth and Fifth the next day.
Continue reading ‘Talk of the town for years to come’: Beethoven Weekend from the Torbay Symphony Orchestra
With at least one work inspired by Barbara Hepworth (as revealed by a sneaky peak at her Facebook page) abstract artist Liz Cleves exhibition The Nature of Colour is at The Woodhayes Gallery, Honiton, Devon.
Continue reading The Nature of Colour exhibition from abstract artist Liz Cleves
Over the recent summer months, St Andrew’s has hosted its now annual Lunchtime Recital Series where, each week, audiences have been able to get a light lunch, while enjoying some forty or so minutes of musical entertainment by well over thirty different performers, from organ recitals and a school choir, to small brass and string ensembles, and more besides.
Continue reading Refreshing jazz salad from Davies and Weekes brings St Andrew’s Summer Lunchtime Recital Series to a close
Medics aren’t usually best-known for blowing their own trumpet – except, that is, when they play the top two parts in a brass ensemble. Some three years ago, medical doctors Ben Dawson and Bruce Fox teamed up with academic doctors Debby Cotton (horn) and Matthew Watkinson (tuba) – educational researcher and geologist respectively – and professional trombonist Jamie Dove, to form Portland Square Brass Quintet.
Continue reading Fun and enjoyment from the Portland Square Brass Quintet at The Minster Church of St Andrew, Plymouth
The first St Andrews Photography Festival, which has just completed its six-week run, has drawn widespread support while celebrating the role and legacy of the photographic pioneers linked to the town.
Continue reading First St Andrews Photography Festival exposed town’s photo legacy
Picking a lunchtime recital programme is not unlike planning a midday meal. Shorter and immediately appealing items are generally better tolerated than something heavy and ponderous, and which then might need the rest of the afternoon to digest.
Continue reading Joel Munday and Peter Clarke’s lunchtime recital leaves the audience with a spring in their step
What a pity this thoroughly-entertaining recital could be enjoyed only by those lucky enough to be in the city centre around lunchtime, as it was really too good to miss.
Continue reading Too good to miss Will McNicol at The Minster Church of St Andrew, Plymouth
With the variety of instrumentalists and singers taking part in this year’s series of Summer Recitals at St Andrew’s, it’s all too easy to forget that the church still has one of the largest, and indeed finest organs in the whole of the South West.
Continue reading Romantic colours at their best: David Stevens’s Organ Recital at The Minster Church of St Andrew
Over the years there have been many choral events in Plymouth’s Mother Church, but The Palace Theatre Choir and Orchestra’s concert was simply quite unlike anything else.
Continue reading Enthusiasm, charisma and drive: The Palace Theatre Choir, Philharmonia and Soloists at The Minster Church of St Andrew