Schumann Symphony No. 4

Humperdinck – Overture ‘Hansel & Gretel’
Tchaikovsky – Swan Lake Suite
Schumann – Symphony No4 in D Minor, Op11
Brahms – Serenade Op. 77

Tonbridge Philharmonic Orchestra gave its audience a delightful evening of what their conductor, Robin Morrish, called “unashamedly romantic music”.

The orchestra began with the Overture `Hansel and Gretel’.  The horns set the tone for the prayerful, slow beginning, and the orchestra confidently and successfully carried on to convey the innocence of the children and the following varying moods as the they traverse the woods leading to a splendid trumpet fanfare heralding the children’s arrival at the Witch’s house.  The orchestra captured  the ever increasing tension leading to the climax and ending with the contrasting return of the peaceful prayer’.

This was followed by Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake Suite.  Here the orchestra played with  panache and great ensemble as the audience was swept along with the dances – there was a good tempo, rhythm and balance.  The opening Scene was slower and contrasted well with the rest of the more lively dances, the Valse underpinned  by some excellent playing and delicate pizzicato on the cellos, ending with the exciting Mazurka evoking a picture of swirling dancers in a glittering ballroom, the enjoyment was infectious.  There was a lovely solo oboe played by Nancy Sargeant.

The Serenade No.1 in D major is perhaps less well-known and was a challenging piece for the orchestra. There was much good playing and the Menuets  danced along with good tone from the violins.  In particular I would like to commend the woodwind section  throughout who set a confident and light touch to evoke the pastoral scene which is so much a part of this work.

The evening concluded with a very enjoyable rendition of Schumann’s Symphony No.4 in D minor.  This is romantic music with a capital “R” and again the orchestra captured this with all its  changing moods and played with confidence. In the exciting finale the orchestra excelled themselves with some impressive rapid playing with running passages expertly executed by the violins and strings in general. There were beautiful solos given by oboe and cello at the beginning and a lovely dreamy violin solo in the middle section expertly played by Susan Skone James.   The Philharmonic is fortunate to have such talent to call upon.

The orchestra clearly enjoyed the evening under the watchful eye and baton of Robin Morrish, and congratulations to the Phil. for giving us a relaxing and enjoyable evening.

Sarah Gough