Review from the Grimsby Telegraph, 19 November 2013
The Magic of Mozart, Grimsby Symphony Orchestra, Grimsby Central Hall
MOZART once said, "Melody is the essence of music" and there was an abundance of it during this exhilarating concert celebrating his magic.
He composed all three elements of the featured programme within the space of ten years and the evening began with the overture from his opera Don Giovanni.
Based on the legend of Don Juan, a fictional libertine and seducer, Mozart displayed either his genius or his recklessness by waiting until the day before the opera's premiere to compose this overture.
Nonetheless, it allowed for a spirited start to Grimsby Symphony Orchestra's concert, under the baton of its resident conductor Neville Turner, and with Nigel Willoughby as their leader.
Believed to be the first ever performance in this area, eager anticipation awaited Mozart's Concerto for Flute, Harp and Orchestra in C major.
An exuberant and highly satisfying performance more than rewarded this expectation, due' in no small part to guest soloists Kathryn South (flute) and Eleanor Turner (harp).
There was a beautiful symbiotic harmony to their playing and, at times it was as though their two instruments were engaged in a serenade.
During the second movement, the glorious melody of the composition emerged as the string section of the orchestra took flight.
The second half of the concert was devoted to Mozart’s Symphony No 40 in G minor and the programme notes teasingly alluded to the first movement's popularity as a mobile phone ringtone.
Fortunately; there was no competition from forgetful members of the audience and an effervescent performance by the orchestra delivered the magical theme of this concert.
Review from the Cleethorpes Chronicle, 28 November 2013
GRIMSBY SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA ‘THE MAGIC OF MOZART’, SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 16th.
Saturday’s ‘The Magic of Mozart’ programme by the Grimsby Symphony Orchestra at Central Hall provided a most enjoyable evening with the very familiar themes from Mozart’s Symphony No. 40 and the Overture to ‘Don Giovanni’, an opera based on the legend of the infamous womanizer Don Juan. Under the baton of Neville Turner, the group performed admirably. Overall, the sizeable string section, including nine cellos, was nicely balanced with the winds, dynamic contrasts were executed effectively, and ensemble playing was tight in rhythm and articulation.
The overture starts with the famous menacing theme foreshadowing the tragic end of the titular character and moves quickly into the lively comic theme denoting the Don Juan character’s rakish misadventures, the contrasting moods illustrating the type of opera called “Dramma giocoso” (both dramatic and comic). The playing was lively and confident.
In the second half of the concert, the symphony was also held on a tight rein by the conductor. There was some very elegant phrasing, particularly in the second movement, with the long snakelike variations of the theme incorporating delicate layering of string and wind entrances. In fact, the second movement was a considerable undertaking, with all the repeats taken. The third movement could have used more dynamic articulation in the syncopated main theme and could have been played with perhaps a bit more aplomb, but the fourth movement was the strongest, with very good ensemble work in the development section and notable phrasing and balance in the winds in the recapitulation.
A special tribute was paid at the beginning of the second half when Neville Turner presented principal cellist Jane Fox with a bouquet to acknowledge her many years’ service with the orchestra, both as an instrumentalist and as a committee member. Jane will soon be leaving the orchestra for, as the conductor put it, ‘foreign parts’: she plans to move to Yorkshire. The orchestra will miss her strong leadership in the cello section.
Undoubtedly the highlight of the evening, however, was the least familiar of the works played, Mozart’s Concerto for Flute, Harp, and Orchestra. This featured stunning performances by flautist Kathryn South and harpist Eleanor Turner. The extraordinarily full sounds of the flute and harp balanced well with the orchestra, with some fine phrasing by first and second violins in the second movement. The whole performance was notable for its attention to detail. The soloists clearly were enjoying themselves, with graceful animation by Eleanor and both displaying impeccable technique. The performers were totally in synch for the challenging rubato playing in the three cadenzas. It was truly an excellent performance from both the soloists and their orchestral accompaniment.
Weber Der Freischutz Overture
Mendelssohn Violin Concerto (soloist: Caroline Siriwardena)
Schumann Symphony no 4
Conductor: Neville Turner; Guest leader: Nigel Willoughby
19 May 2013 - Grimsby Central Hall
Thumbs-up for a classical concert
Review of the concert on 19 May 2013 - Grimsby Telegraph, 7 June 2013
IF THE pulse of a town's cultural life is measured by its ability to sustain a symphony orchestra, then Grimsby makes the grade.
For almost 75 years, Grimsby Symphony Orchestra has successfully presented classical music on a grand scale and their latest concert was no exception.
Under the direction of Neville Turner, their resident conductor since the 1970's and with Nigel Willoughby as Leader, the evening began with the Overture from Weber's Der Freischütz (The Marksman).
This offers a musical synopsis of the entire opera and the synergy between strings, wind and horns allowed the orchestra to capture all the drama of this German folk legend, a tale of good versus evil following a pact with the devil.
The centrepiece of the evening was Mendelssohn's Concerto for Violin in E Minor for which Caroline Siriwardena joined the orchestra as guest soloist.
This is perhaps one of the most popular and frequently performed violin concertos and the three movements flow seamlessly from one to another.
The primary appeal of the concerto lies within its charming melody, the instantly recognisable theme first introduced by the soloist and then adopted by the orchestra.
Caroline treated us to a performance that was elegantly lyrical and imbued with sweet tones that alternately embraced both the intensity and romanticism of the composition.
Schumann's Symphony No 4 in D Minor dominated the second half of the concert, the four movements played as one, and the orchestra performed with a sparkling vitality that proved rewarding.
17 November 2012 - Grimsby Central Hall
Mendelssohn Hebrides Overture
Beethoven Piano Concerto no 5 "Emperor" (soloist: Richard Markham)
Beethoven Symphony no 1
Conductor: Neville Turner; Guest leader: Martin Hughes
An irresistible menu of music
Grimsby Symphony Orchestra, Grimsby Central Hall
LOVERS of melodic and lyrical music will have found this sublime concert by the Grimsby Symphony Orchestra irresistible.
Under the direction of Neville Turner, and with Martin Hughes as their guest leader, the three chosen works represented, in a sense, the courses of a fine dinner.
As if whetting our appetite, the evening commenced with Mendelssohn's Hebrides Overture Op.26, perhaps better known as Fingal's Cave.
Inspired by his visit to Scotland, the piece depicts a mood and sets a scene; the rise and fall of the orchestra's string section successfully conveyed the impression of rolling waves,
Grimsby-born international concert pianist Richard Markham joined the orchestra as guest soloist for Beethoven's Piano Concerto in Eb major Op 73.
Beethoven began composing this piece whilst Bonaparte's army subjected Vienna to artillery bombardment, forcing him to seek shelter in a cellar, although this does not explain the concerto's alternative title, The Emperor.
The three movements embrace the emotions of serenity, power and passion; admirably reflected in the sensitive and expressive partnership between Richard and the orchestra.
In the second movement, there is a fragment of a melody that later inspired Bernstein's composition of the song Somewhere, from his musical West Side Story.
The final choice of the night was Beethoven's Symphony No 1, first performed in 1800 which, effectively, announced his talents to Vienna.
One critic of the day described the work as containing "considerable art, novelty and wealth of ideas", an appetiser for the symphonies that followed.
The orchestra delivered a spirited, vibrant performance. Under the encouragement of their conductor and leader, it was an impressive and enjoyable conclusion to the evening's entertainment.
Grimsby Telegraph, 2012.11.20
60th Birthday Celebrated in fine style
Locally born Pianist, Richard Markham celebrated his 60th birthday in fine style with a concert in conjunction with the Grimsby Symphony Orchestra. The Orchestra is the only local adult symphony orchestra and aims to perform two concerts a year.
The evening began with the evocative overture ‘The Hebrides’ by Mendelssohn with the atmosphere of the sea effectively interpreted by the Orchestra.
The main item in the programme was the Piano Concerto in Eb major Op. 73 ‘The Emperor’ by Beethoven. The soloist was the ever popular Richard Markham. His performance successfully expressed the drama, colour and emotion of this popular work which was enthusiastically acknowledged by the supportive audience. It was obvious from the lyrical playing, that the Orchestra enjoyed accompanying Richard in this inspirational piece.
The second half of the concert comprised the Symphony No. 1 by Beethoven. The Orchestra demonstrated enthusiastic and spirited playing with an expressive interpretation of this well known Symphony.
The Conductor for the concert was Neville Turner and the Orchestra was pleased to welcome Martin Hughes as the guest leader. Martin began his musical career in Grimsby and has performed professionally in many parts of the UK.
Cleethorpes Chronicle 18 November 2012