Review: Axis Vale Orchestra Jubilee Concert
09:32 27 June 2022
The Ax Vale Orchestra performed a very lively concert at Feoffees Hall, Colyton, to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. Through clever planning, all the music was associated with the UK, but it was not written entirely by British composers.
The concert on Sunday 22 May opened with the Rondeau d’Abdelazar by Henry Purcell. His music is firmly anchored in the British heart and this little melody was taken up 300 years later by another archetype of the British composer, Benjamin Britten. He used it as the theme for all of the variations used in the educational documentary film, “The Instruments of the Orchestra”.
Gilbert and Sullivan’s operettas are quintessentially British with their parody of British institutions and aristocracy. Once again, it was a later composer, this time an Australian, Charles Mackerras, who picked up the best tunes to create a ballet “Pineapple Poll”. The orchestra really savored Sullivan’s catchy tunes and had fun with the fast string passages and striking brass tunes. And when the orchestra sang “Never Mind the Why and Wherefore” from HMS Pinafore, you felt the audience want to join you.
AVO are pretty good at Mendelssohn’s music, so it’s no surprise they captured the hazy atmosphere of his Hebridean overture, better known as Fingal’s Cave. Mendelssohn was a big fan of Britain; he went there many times and befriended Queen Victoria and Prince Albert with whom he spent musical evenings.
George Frideric Handel was another Great Britain fan and not only moved to London, but took British citizenship and changed the spelling of his name! The music for the royal fireworks is such a joyous and festive piece with tunes coming in fast and well.
Eric Coates wrote mostly popular music. The AVO played its Three Elisabeth Suite; the movement commemorating the Queen Mother had a serene oboe solo played beautifully by Caroline Page. It contrasted so well with the bubbling last movement with its striking brass themes.
Finally, Franz Lehar’s Golden and Silver Waltz with its colorful glockenspiel closed this magnificent concert and left the audience smiling and gently swaying to the rhythms of the waltz. Well done Arturo Serna and AVO. I look forward to hearing Arturo as a soloist in Dvorak’s magnificent Cello Concerto on October 16th.