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Summer Concert - Saturday, 15th June 2024

FHOS poster 2024 Summer

Delius - The Walk to the Paradise Garden (arr. Beecham)

Arutiunian - Trumpet Concerto in Ab major

  • Soloist: Sasha Canter

Rachmaninov - Symphony No. 2 in E minor, Op. 27

Holy Trinity Church,
Sandgate Road,
CT20 2HQ

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Holy Trinity Church Folkestone was full to hear an outstanding concert under the direction of Rupert Bond. He is a sure-footed conductor with a creative vision that suits the orchestra well. With the orchestra led so skilfully by Flo Peycelon, this inspirational leadership team set the bar high (almost as high as the conductor’s stand light!).

A walk in the Paradise Garden by Delius is elegiac English music and the strings set the scene beautifully. Soon the Delius earworm motif allowed the wind players to enjoy their solo roles, with particularly beautiful playing from the Cor Anglais and Flute. The orchestral climaxes were well judged and the audience rightly gave the orchestra generous applause.

Not many people in the audience will have known Arutiunian’s Trumpet Concerto written in 1950 but the astonishing performance by the soloist Sasha Canter will have left an indelible memory for everyone. His first sounding of the main motif left us in no doubt as to his approach to the music.

He lives and breathes it with total commitment and his amazing technique allows him to revel in the sound world of Russian and Armenian folk music, with its soulful, beautiful melodies and exciting double-tonguing fireworks suiting him well.

The Trumpet became his dance partner as he moved around the performance space in such an animated way. The orchestra knew that they were part of something extraordinary and performed the expansive score with sheer joy.

Brass instruments are notoriously difficult to handle in solo situations and any brass players in the audience will have been stunned by how this fearless young soloist could be so perfect. Not in a clinical way, but as a mature young artist at the top of his artistic powers.

After the interval Rachmaninoff’s 2nd Symphony was a perfect choice to allow the orchestra to perform a work on a massive scale.

The opening motif which came to dominate the whole piece was impressively played by Cellos and Basses and the following Cor Anglais solo by Hilary Sell was blissful.

The architecture of the movement allowed the strings to shine, and the counterpoint of the development section was deftly handled.

The second movement saw the finest playing of the evening, with the strings fizzing with excitement and the Tuba anchoring the expansive themes. There was great unison Horn playing and precision percussion.  The music made us realise how film composers have borrowed from this epic scale of composition.

After this movement, the conductor took a well-earned lie down on his rostrum as the orchestra re-tuned.

The opening of the 3rd movement allowed the 1st Clarinet to perform beautifully with a long solo thoughtfully played.

The simple harmonic language of this movement allowed the audience to immerse themselves in the gorgeous themes played so well by Oboe and Horn soloists. These themes become well-loved friends.

By the 4th movement, the orchestra were again on top form, with the full ensemble sounding very impressive. The clear and confident direction from Rupert Bond gave the orchestra the confidence to perform the music well. The long dominant pedal notes (great Tuba again) gave us an agonising wait for resolution, but when it came, it was glorious, with the final exciting chords leading to tumultuous applause from the capacity audience. Well done to the orchestra for putting on such a brave and satisfying programme!

David Burridge

Folkestone and Hythe Orchestral Society

Telephone Derek Kemp (Chairman) 01303 894635/ Mob. 07919 030077