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Stirring stuff in a perfect setting

Date published: 24 March 2015


OLDHAM Symphony Orchestra tried out a new venue for its VE Day concert - and it proved a winner.

Oldham Parish Church was the perfect setting for a programme of well-known music associated with the war era.

The concert started off with Neville Chamberlain’s speech announcing the onset of war with Germany and the wail of an air-raid siren, under which was heard the opening bars of Holst’s Planets’ “Mars, Bringer of War” - followed by the calmness of “Venus, Bringer of Peace”.

Following these was the world premiere of “To Battle”, by young local composer Andrew Wood. The orchestra pulled it off marvellously and the audience was ready to fight!

The first half ended with three of Elgar’s Enigma variations.

The second half brought a feast of marches, TV and radio themes from the era and a specially-arranged medley of Vera Lynn songs.

These all gave ample opportunity to showcase the brass, woodwind and percussion, though these sometimes overpowered the strings.

Guest conductor Lawrence Killian, more often seen leading the trumpet section, demonstrated a high level of enthusiasm, which proved infectious among orchestra and audience alike.

The VE Day feelgood factor was at a high.

RWJ


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