Symphony left us spellbound

Applause for Todmorden Orchestra and a bouquet for soloist Rosemary Cow
Applause for Todmorden Orchestra and a bouquet for soloist Rosemary Cow

The audience at the Todmorden Orchestra concert on Saturday night left the Town Hall with their ears literally ringing and fully believing that the roof had been blown off!

The pleasant and short first half was followed by the relentless music of Bruckner’s Fourth Symphony “The Romantic”. There was certainly no question of sitting back and letting the music “wash over you” for the audience.

The concert began with Mozart’s “Magic Flute” overture. This piece demands secure ensemble work and this was amply demonstrated once the orchestra was into its stride.

The concerto composed by Weber for the bassoon was probably new to most of the audience. The orchestral opening of the Allegro perhaps lacked a little definition with its dotted rhythm. The second subject, reminiscent of a theme from Beethoven’s cello and piano sonata in F major, was well played. Soloist Rosemary Cow demonstrated the superb and varying tones and colours of her instrument throughout its range.

The lyrical sound of the bassoon was well demonstrated in the adagio slow movement and here the orchestra under its conductor Nick Concannon-Hodges was well balanced.

After the interval, whilst Beethoven’s Sixth symphony is obviously “Pastoral” the same cannot be said of this Bruckner symphony in relation to its title. If ever a team depended on one person to achieve its objective then credit must be given on this occasion to the first horn player.

The opening horn solo setting out clearly the distant and mellow hunting call was only the start of a series of important entries all of which were well-played.

But this was a huge undertaking and every single player is required to perform at the highest level. Todmorden Orchestra, albeit with some outside augment, is regularly performing now at a high and enviable standard.

Credit must be given to the whole brass section which was much to the fore throughout and the string section, ably led by first violin Andrew Rostron had to be on their mettle throughout.

The final section grew in intensity until the final series of chords leaving the audience for a moment spellbound and stunned before rapturous applause broke out, Nick appropriately calling attention to each section to take the applause.