Sun 10th October 2021: 3.30pm Axminster Church
Mendelssohn Overture: The Fair Melusine
Tomlinson: Suite of Engish Fol Dances
Delius: La Calinda
Haydn: Clock Symphony
"How thrilling it was to be part of a live audience in front of a symphony orchestra. You could feel this excitement in the Minster Church, Axminster, as the Axe Vale Orchestra gave its first live concert since February last year. Mendelssohn’s overture The Fair Melusine tells the familiar story of a water nymph who falls in love with a mortal, except this nymph inconveniently turns into a mermaid once a week. Well, you can imagine the problems. The orchestra captured the watery opening beautifully and then went on to portray musically the conflicts which followed. And did those tunes originate in Scotland? The young Mendelssohn was on a walking holiday there a couple of years before he wrote this overture.
A real feast of tunes followed when the AVO played the first Suite of English Folk Dances written by Ernest Tomlinson. They caught the dance-like feel of these pieces so well : from the opening violin solo played by the leader Jane Bultz, through an oboe solo with gossamer-like violin harmonics, to the powerful full orchestra of the final dance. And how familiar they made the tunes sound; do we know them from theme music perhaps?
La Calinda is the popular dance from Frederick Delius’ opera Koanga. Despite it’s being probably the first opera based on Afro-American tunes it is now neglected and wasn’t published until after Delius’ death. What we heard was a truly delightful rendition of this gentle, tuneful dance, one which always brings a smile to my face. Well done conductor Arturo Serna and the AVO for making such familiar music sound so fresh.
It’s easy to be dismissive of Joseph Haydn. He may have been overshadowed by Beethoven but just listen to his music and then dare to say he wasn’t a genius. The well-known Clock Symphony is full of remarkable twists and turns, ably negotiated in this performance. This takes a lots of skill to manage so all credit to Arturo and his band.
You hear so much detail just by being there with a live orchestra. They set the bar high for the next concert on 27th February at Seaton Gateway."
Last Concert - 13th October 2019: The Feoffes Hall, Colyton
The concert was a triumph. Definitively one of the best so far.
Bizet overture ' Dr Miracle'
The orchestra played with the perfect speed the overture. It was performed with wit and precision
Beethoven: Piano Concerto no 3
Throughout the concerto I could feel the orchestra wide awake, listening and reacting to whatever the soloist did.
Mendelssohn: Symphony no 3 ( The Scottish)
However, I have to say the symphony was the very best item
The violins were the absolute stars at the beginning of the symphony with their semiquavers performed flawlessly, together and perfectly in tune. I haven't found a single recording where that is achieved. Big bravo to them!
The woodwind performed with incredible precision and excellent intonation. All the dangerous speed changes were perfectly executed. The slow movement was performed with beautiful tenderness and striking changes of mood and colour.
And the last movement was terrific, fast, furious, loud and with a fantastic royal ending for a gorgeous audience.
The orchestra was stunning in every single way. Bravo!