The city has always been fortunate to have an amateur orchestra of the size and quality of Plymouth Symphony Orchestra on its doorstep.
To Messiah, or not – that’s the annual dilemma for choirs as Christmas approaches.
Plymouth Symphony Orchestra has featured music from the movies at previous concerts. But it’s never sounded like this before.
There had been but few changes of personnel among the ranks and, as ever, conductor Anne Kimber gave her absolute all throughout.
But while a conductor can infuse music with an individual interpretation, they still need someone to communicate this to the players in more practical terms.
In Cath Smith the orchestra has now got a superb leader who not only looks after technical issues, but brings such a sense of vigour, enthusiasm and sheer enjoyment to her role, and which immediately inspires the orchestra as a whole.
This was so evident not only in the strings’ gloriously-rich rendition of Born Free, or the precision and excitement in the jagged, percussive rhythms of Pirates of the Caribbean, but also in the way it encouraged such fine woodwind solo playing on the night, and gave real confidence to the horn section, who often can appear so very exposed in this kind of writing.
Through the auspices of Plymouth Music Accord there were many young people present, who could only have been truly motivated by what they were hearing – and hopefully might even come again.
As for the rest of the large audience, two separate standing ovations said it all – a quite outstanding performance from the city’s only symphony orchestra.
PHILIP R BUTTALL
The Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra marked its long-overdue return to the Guildhall with a delightful mix of classical and neo-classical works, under the inspired direction of Frank Zielhorst.
Playwright and critic George Bernard Shaw wasn’t overly impressed by Mendelssohn’s Elijah, when he wrote that he’d sat through a performance as an act of professional devotion.
Most orchestral programmes include a concerto, which not only gives the players an opportunity to perform alongside some of the top names, but also can make programmes considerably more attractive in helping to fill a venue.
Auto Art is the ultimate car boot experience taking place in the Guildhall Car Park in Plymouth on Sunday, September 18 between 9am and 1pm.