Who would believe that the town of Harrogate has its own full size amateur symphony orchestra, playing concert works to rival those of a professional outfit!
The 70 or so players in the orchestra performed in the sublime surroundings of the Royal Hall in Harrogate on Saturday 15 March 2014.
Harrogate Symphony Orchestra can race its roots back to 1931, although it has only been a full size orchestra since the early 90s. Surprisingly, the ensemble plays works by well-known composers that you would expect to hear in the concert halls of London, Manchester or Birmingham.
The orchestra also has a track record of working with big names such as pianist Benjamin Frith as well as up and coming soloists including former BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artist and multiple Classic BRIT Award winner; trumpeter Alison Balsam. One such up and comer is Bartosz Woroch who played Beethoven’s Violin Concerto at the orchestra’s March concert. A Polish native, Bartosz studied at the acclaimed Guildhall School of Music in London where now he is now a Professor. As a concerto soloist he has appeared with the Czestochowa, Poznan, Silesian and Auckland Philharmonic Orchestras, the Bern Symphony and Polish Radio Orchestras and has recorded for BBC Radio 3, Radio France and Polish Radio. The concerto he will be playing is deemed to be one of the most important works of the violin concerto repertoire, and it is frequently performed and recorded today.
If you like your Beethoven, the concert programme also includes the Overture to Egmont. Egmont is a set of incidental music pieces for the 1787 play of the same name by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe which portrays the life and heroism of a 16th-century Dutch nobleman, the Count of Egmont. The overture is powerful and expressive and has at its heart, the theme of overcoming oppression, which may be the reason for it later becoming an unofficial anthem of the 1956 Hungarian revolution.
To complete the concert the orchestra performed Sibelius Symphony No 1. Sibelius is a force to be reckoned with and is renowned for producing beautiful symphonies with luxurious harmonies and moving melodies – and this first symphony is no exception. It is characterized by its use of string and woodwind solos, starting with a long and discursive clarinet solo at the start with subsequent violin, viola, and cello solos.
Find it online at www.royalhall.co.uk
Written By Gillian Neild