“This orchestra gets better and better.” ...was a comment overheard on Saturday 3rd December, when the Marlborough Concert Orchestra gave its Winter Concert at St. Mary’s Church to a highly appreciative audience.
There was a strong ‘young’ element to the evening. Alexander Webb, currently a Conducting Scholar at the Royal Northern College of Music, came to the podium at very short notice and conducted with aplomb, giving fine, clear direction. The two professional soloists in the first half were Irene Enzlin (‘cello) and Verena Chen (violin) who gave us a superb rendition of Brahms’ Double Concerto; in this they were ably supported by the orchestra. It is said that Brahms was very diffident about this concerto. On the basis of this performance, there was no need for such modesty.
Following the interval, when raffle prizes were collected (one lucky family appeared nearly to scoop the pool), there was an impromptu encore from the soloists – a delightful Passacaglia by the Norwegian composer, Halvorsen. After this, the orchestra set forth with Invitation to the Dance by Weber, described by one member of the orchestra as “not as easy (to play) as it sounds”. These playersd did make it sound easy, David Edwards, (1st ‘cello) set the standard with the opening solo part.
Next came the Vocalise Op.14 No.14 by Rachmaninov, in which momentum was well-maintained under Alex Webb’s baton and the familiar ‘sob factor’ of this composer shone through. Finally, we had Variations on a theme of Haydn by Brahms, where each section of the orchestra came to the fore separately and collectively, demonstrating fine musical abilities in dealing with the changing pace of these variations. The comment at the opening to this review was right, this was an evening of splendid music, well-played.