Storming end to orchestra season

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SCARBOROUGH Symphony Orchestra’s final concert of the season was a resounding success.

Berio’s 1975 Ritirata Notturna di Madrid is an arrangement of a version of the music played in Madrid to signal the midnight curfew by Boccherini (a contemporary of Mozart). Four orchestrations of the piece are superimposed on top of each other, and it is underpinned throughout by side drum rhythms, which start quietly and gradually reach a crescendo until the full orchestra is unleashed. It dies gradually away as the soldiers disappear from view, and we hear the final dying beats of the side drum.

After some brisk re-ordering of the orchestral seating, we were treated to the main work of the evening, Mozart’s 22nd piano concerto in E flat K482, with Frank James playing his carefully restored square piano. It was made by Thomas Haxby of York in 1789, only four years after the concerto was written. The orchestra was reduced to 20 players to balance the quiet and gentle tone of this very special instrument. Not only is the sound different, but also the touch, and the audience was able to follow on a large screen Frank’s dazzling finger work in the solo sections and cadenzas. The applause after this virtuoso performance was deservedly loud and sustained.

After the interval the full orchestra returned to play two un-named poems for orchestra by Frank Bridge, one of a sadly neglected group of English composers from the first half of the 20th century. The first was quiet and lyrical, the second spirited, rhythmic and rumbustious. The concert finished with an exciting performance of Tchaikovsky’s Capriccio Italien, in which the orchestra was heard to full advantage.

As an end-of-term treat, the encore was Dvorák’s Slavonic dance opus 46 no. 3 in A flat.

Scarborough is very lucky to have an orchestra of this calibre, and Shaun Matthew, the soloists and players are to be congratulated on another successful season.

Brochures for next season’s series of concerts are now available. The theme will be folk and nationalistic music.