Ambitious show performance

Hastings Philharmonic Choir, St Mary in the Castle, Saturday, April 26. Review by Marrion Wells.

Bach, Beethoven, Bizet, Berlioz, Brahms...a few of the composers listed under B, each with one work above others by which they are known. Bach’s Air on the G string, Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, Bizet’s Toreador Song from Carmen, Berlioz’s Symphone Fantastique, Brahms... ?

Probably, a tune which most know but can’t put a name to, the Academic Festival Overture? (Now a theme tune on mobile phones.)

Not a fate likely to happen to his D major Violin Concerto which was given a sparkling performance by Turkish violiniste Aysen Ulucan with Hastings Philharmonic Choir and the Ensemble OrQuestra under the direction of their conductor Marcio da Silva.

The first movement opened with a simple, gentle theme allegro ma non troppo, which was revealed in several guises, making it longer than first movements usually are.

The second developed into an adagio, a slow, contemplative theme on the oboe, a noteworthy performance by Jenny Melville.

The final movement allegro giocoso was a bright dialogue between the soloist and the orchestra which ended with applause which could only be described as tumultuous.

The prelude to this exacting work which Aysen accomplished with charm and poise which the audience recognised with prolonged applause, was a descriptive work, Song of Destiny, an expression in music of the composer’s religious doubts ending in their resolution.

Part Two opened with a setting by Brahms to a work by the poet Goethe, The Song of the Fates, which introduced the Requiem Mass in C minor by the Italian poet Maria Luigi Cherubini.

In seven sections, this was probably the most ambitious formats the choir have attempted under Marcio’s direction, and the reception at the end of the seven sections showed how the audience appreciated their great strides in attempting such a challenge and how wonderfully the choir members responded to it.

None of this could have happened of course without the co-operation of all the various members of the philharmonic choir, their volunteer helpers and all concerned in the ‘nuts and bolts’ of bringing such an ambitious programme to fruition.

Marrion Wells