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Concert Reviews

"A Space Odyssey"

Royal Albert Hall, 23 April 2001

The grand setting of the Royal Albert Hall was host to the culmination of much hard work and effort from hundreds of students on 23 April 2001, as the Concert Band, Youth Orchestra and Combined Middle School Choir took the stage for the evening.

A Space Odyssey, April 2001
Ian Smith conducting the County Concert Band
and the Combined Middle School Choirs

The Concert Band performed first - and as the concert was performed on Saint George's Day, their programme of music was chosen to celebrate the work of 20th century English composers.

A Space Odyssey, April 2001
Michael Rose conducting the County Youth Orchestra

Opening with March: The Standard of Saint George by Kenneth J Alford, the Concert Band performed with their characteristic zest, skill and accuracy. Eric Coates' Suite: The Three Elizabeths, followed. Coates was Britain's finest and most successful light-music composer, and this piece is the most symphonic he ever wrote.

A Space Odyssey, April 2001

Not content with just composing the next piece, Nigel Hess took the baton for his Global Variations, an eight minute tour of the world. After that, normal musical director Chris Robinson, returned to the stand for a complete change of style - a big band blues style performance of the Beatles' Can't Buy Me Love. The Concert Band captured the flavour of a marching band in Lennon and McCartney's classic, before playing William Walton's Facade. They finished with March: Padstow Lifeboat by Malcolm Arnold, celebrating his eightieth year.

A Space Odyssey, April 2001

The Combined Middle School Choirs, conducted by Ian Smith, gave a confident and accomplished performance, accompanied by the Concert Band and pianist Graham Conridge. Among the pieces they performed were Children of Eden by Stephen Schwartz and The Future's in our Hands by Jon Raybould. To finish, Nigel Hess returned to the conductor's stand to direct his To the Stars.

A Space Odyssey, April 2001

After the interval, it was the Youth Orchestra's turn to perform. Conducted, as ever, by Michael Rose, they opened with Elgar's Overture: Cockaigne. Subtitled In London Town, this is Elgar's tribute to the richness and diversity, the hustle and the bustle, of the metropolis.

The second piece in the Youth Orchestra's brilliant and inspiring performance was arguably Holst's most well known work, The Planets. The Youth Orchestra performed the two movements of Mars and Jupiter.

A Space Odyssey, April 2001

To end the concert, the Youth Orchestra performed Capriccio Italien by Tchaikovsky, a series of loosely linked episodes with some very memorable tunes. Throughout their time on stage, the Youth Orchestra reaffirmed their status as one of the top young orchestras in Britain.

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