Review - Horsham Symphony Orchestra

HSO and Rachel EllisHSO and Rachel Ellis
HSO and Rachel Ellis
REVIEW BY John Sherlock

The Capitol, Horsham, Conductor: Steve Dummer / Leader: Anna Giddey / Soloist: Rachel Ellis

Programme: Lucy Callen: Sirens Wake; Brahms: Violin Concerto in D Major Op 77; Stravinsky: Symphony in C

We loved it

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“You’ll love it” were Steve Dummer’s words as he introduced the Stravinsky Symphony in C – and we did! With two movements composed in Europe, and two in America, the difference was clear in HSO’s skilled rendering of this rarely performed and technically challenging work – part of their ongoing Stravinsky project and a fine conclusion to HSO’s 50th anniversary season.

Before the interval we heard the orchestra’s own Rachel Ellis – who usually leads the orchestra – as soloist in Brahms’ sublime violin concerto. It was a deeply moving performance, and she demonstrated great skill and artistry throughout, but especially in the cadenza.

The concert began with a world première: Lucy Callen is a composer and conductor and she wrote ‘Sirens Wake’ specially for HSO. In the programme note she described a journey out to sea, and the piece delivers this feeling beautifully, leaving us wondering “whether or not it might have all been a dream”.

I overheard several enthusiastic audience comments, particularly about the high quality of the woodwind ensemble. But the whole orchestra rose to the challenge of a testing programme, and triumphed. As maestro Steve Dummer promised, we loved it.

REVIEW BY John Sherlock

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