Conductor: Steve Dummer / Leader: Rachel Ellis / Soloist: Laurence Cuttriss
Programme: Beethoven: Symphony No. 6 (Pastoral); Françaix: Clarinet Concerto; Stravinsky: Firebird Suite (1919)
The Horsham Symphony Orchestra made a triumphant return to The Capitol with their concert on Saturday, opening their 50th anniversary season.
They started with Beethoven’s much-loved Pastoral Symphony – and here the woodwind deserve special mention, not only for their prominent positioning at the front of the stage, but also for their wonderful birdsong imitations, as well as keeping their heads while pretending to be a drunken village band!
The second half began with a dazzling rendering of Françaix’s Clarinet Concerto, with Laurence Cuttriss as accomplished soloist. He made devilishly difficult music look easy, as did the orchestra. Laurence displayed an astonishing technique, expertly balanced with refined lyricism and stylish humour.
The concert closed with Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite. This represents the start of a “Stravinsky Project” for HSO – and if this energetic performance was anything to go by, we’re in for many future treats! Like in the Pastoral Symphony which opened the programme, goodness and light have the final say, despite darker episodes. The final moments were fantastic.
It’s good to hear this wonderful orchestra perform so well after a long gap. Much of the credit must go to Steve Dummer, whose introductions to each piece seem to perfectly balance brevity with relevance.
REVIEW BY John Sherlock