Concert in memory of popular Ann
Date published: 16 July 2013
Oldham Symphony Orchestra
Hulme Grammar Schools
MEMBERS of the Oldham Symphony Orchestra dedicated their concert in the Great Hall of the Hulme Grammar Schools to the memory of their former leader, Ann Heeks, who died on June 4 following a brave battle with cancer.
Ann led the orchestra for 40 years, during which time she had contributed greatly of her boundless artistic energy and musical skill to the building-up of the orchestra’s repertoire and the enhancement of its reputation as a local amateur orchestra worthy of the title “Symphony”.
It was fitting that the concert should begin, as it did, with an extra item: the noble “Nimrod” variation from Elgar’s “Enigma Variations” which was played with intense feeling and to poignant effect under the baton of Richard Waldock.
The new leader, Andrew Marshall, occupied the desk so long associated with the name of Ann Heeks.
The wonderfully tuneful and rhythmically striking music of Tchaikovsky was to dominate the concert, beginning with his emotionally charged “Fantasy Overture”, “Romeo and Juliet”, in which the orchestra, with some incisive brass and percussion playing and some sumptuous string sounds, succeeded splendidly in bringing to life the portrayal of conflict which lies at the heart of Shakespeare’s tragedy.
Woodwind, brass and the (initially wayward) celesta in turn then added their characteristic, evocative sounds to a relaxed and satisfying performance of the “Nutcracker Suite” bringing the first half of the concert to a rousing conclusion with the full orchestral bouquet of sonorities blossoming in the incomparable “Waltz of the Flowers”.
In the second half the audience were treated to music by Stravinsky based on some of Tchaikovsky’s early piano music and other pieces. This was a suite taken from the ballet “The Fairy’s Kiss”.