Epsom Symphony Orchestra May 4th concert

Spanish fiesta came to Epsom


Epsom Symphony Orchestra – Epsom Playhouse – 4th May – Review by Sarah Haines.

What an uplifting and colourful music evening put on by Epsom Symphony Orchestra. Their May concert at Epsom Playhouse was a rich and colourful Spanish Fiesta overseen by Musical Director and Conductor Darrell Davison.

A wonderful start to summer with its promise of outdoor living. Our party had pre performance tapas and spirits which nicely set the stage for what was to come. Chabrier’s Espana captured the Spanish way of life in music. Full of character, and contrasting themes including parts that were really powerful and tempestuous. Elsewhere light and springy with happy harp playing. Ending in fantastic fanfare.

Turina’s Procession of the Lady of the Dew was a charming little piece: a fantastic soundtrack to a fiesta in Seville. We listened to music from a procession – sedate and respectful; building to a joyful and jubilant end: trumpets playing the Spanish national anthem – this one really was like a film score overture.

Richard Scholfield then treated us to two wonderful pieces playing the solo saxophone (supported by the Orchestra). The first was Ravel’s Pavane (arranged by Darrell Davison) – a slow Spanish dance. This was superb playing – soulful and light, a silken sound, romantic, demonstrating the repertoire of the saxophone.

The second was Borne’s marvellous Fantaisie Brillante on Themes from Bizet’s Carmen – a demanding soloist piece played beautifully and with flair – it was phenomenal, at times racy, playful, a powerful Tango, rapid scales with wonderful percussion joining at the end. At points it was like listening to a horse race.

The second half began with de Falla’s Three Cornered Hat Suite 2. This piece depicted melodies from cafes, bars and street musicians. A throbbing intensity from the cellos and double basses interspersed with movements of lightness from the violins and violas and augmented by colourful music from the brass and woodwind. This really caught the essence of Spanish life.

Rimsky-Korsakov’s Capriccio Espangnole was joyful piece: containing two morning songs, a gypsy song and a Fandango (animated Spanish dance). So many wonderful solo parts throughout the orchestra as they played this colourful piece.

The concert ended with the unforgettable Ravel’s Bolero – an extremely popular piece. The familiar tune gradually built and built as more members of the orchestra came in. Two snare drummers stood like sentinels either side of the stage, reminiscent of Torvill & Dean’s legendary gold winning ice-skating performance at the Sarajevo 1984 winter Olympics.

Sarah Haines

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