Review Autumn 2012

The  Deeside Orchestra Autumn Concert Sunday 18th November

 The  Deeside Orchestra gave a spirited performance in their autumn concert in Birse and Feughside Church (Finzean) on Sunday 18th November.  The programme had a strong Scottish theme, with perennial favourites and some less well known items.

The concert started with Mendelssohn’s Hebrides Overture, often known as Fingal’s Cave, which was composed after a sea trip to the famous cave on Staffa in 1829, which rendered the composer decidedly seasick.  There is no reference to this in the music, instead, the composer has written a superb impression of a sea voyage. The piece begins softly and the orchestra quickly captured the swell of the sea and later evoked the crashing waves during a stormy period.  All sections of the orchestra contributed to the overall impression with evocative playing, good clarity of parts and good use of dynamics.

The second piece was a new composition by Paul Lawrence of the Grampian Concert Orchestra and this was its second performance.  Ninian’s Lilt takes a typical ‘Scottish Air’ and plays with this theme, modifying it and passing it around the different instruments and sections of the orchestra.  This music had the audience nodding and smiling.

The central item was the concert overture  ‘The Land of the Mountain and the Flood’ composed by the 19-year old Hamish MacCunnin 1887.  The title comes from a phrase in Walter Scott’s The Lay of the Last Minstrel. The piece presents a romantic and lyrical impression of the Scottish landscape and was used as the theme for the 1970s TV programme Sutherland’s Law. Again the Deeside Orchestra provided a spirited performance with the brass and wind section to the fore with the strings providing a rhythmic support.  Again, there was good definition of the various parts of the orchestra providing a clean sound.

Coronation Scot (a musical depiction of a train journey) written by Vivian Ellis will be familiar to many as the theme music for long-running BBC radio series, Paul Temple.  It must be one of the most well known compositions most depicting a large steam locomotive. The orchestra provided us with a superb evocation of the power and build-up of speed.  This was a carefully crafted performance which the audience really enjoyed.

The concert finished with Four Scottish dances. The four movements were inspired by, and intended to evoke the music of Scotland.  The score combines instruments to imitate the drone bagpipes, and typical  ‘Scotch Snap’ rhythms.  This was a challenging piece, especially the final section, but the orchestra was up to the task and gave a brilliantly successful performance.

The Deeside Orchestra gets better and better and has become a local musical treasure. Obviously well practiced, the ensemble was carefully controlled by the baton of their conductor Glynn Hesketh. The many individuals involved span a wide age range (10-year old Cameron McGowan to Andy Linklater some decades older) which augers well for the orchestra’s continued activity. The Orchestra provided real enjoyment for the sell-out audience and confirmed their growing stature and reputation.  And to round things off – tea and lots of cakes.  Definitely “thanks to the band” for a wonderful Sunday afternoon.

Bob Naylor