The 65-strong Worthing Philharmonic Orchestra launches into its new season in fine form, promises music director Dominic Grier.
Dominic is embarking on his third season with the orchestra and is delighted with their progress.
“Last year we were talking about technical abilities and strengths, and I think they have done remarkably well. I think we certainly finished last season very strongly with the Beethoven, Elgar and Poulenc. It was a wonderful concert.”
In terms of orchestral discipline, sonority and use of the acoustics, the orchestra has developed strongly, Dominic feels: “They are sounding like one magnificent collective rather than people playing individually who are very good players.”
Partly it has been a question of choosing the right repertoire for the musicians, and in this past year, Dominic has been able to tailor the repertoire to their strengths, moving on from the programme he had inherited in his first year.
The improvements are in areas which inevitably are elusive and difficult to quantify: “Standing on the podium is never often the best place to hear, and the players themselves have even less sense of how the whole thing is sounding. But it is a matter of building trust, and they trust my judgement.”
Helping too has been an arrangement whereby university students now record their concerts: “It means that the orchestra has been able to listen back to the way they sounded, and most of them have been able to hear the way they are sounding better and better. We are fortunate that we don’t have a huge turn-over. It is not like working with a university student orchestra where you lose loads of them each year. There is not a lot of change with Worthing, and that means you can really progress. There is more to do, but I am pleased.”
With the reintroduction of the Christmas concert this year, it means the season now comprises five concerts a season – a proms concert to launch the season, a winter concert, a Christmas concert, a spring concert and a summer concert.
For this year’s proms, they will be joined by the Boundstone Chorus and Aedan Kearney for the annual Rule Britannia promenade concert on October 1 at the Assembly Hall, Worthing.
This year the first half of the concert is devoted to a celebration of Shakespeare with narrator Michael Danvers-Walker. The programme includes Walton – Henry V suite, Mendelssohn – A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Tchaikovsky – Romeo and Juliet, Nicolai – the Merry Wives of Windsor plus short Shakespearian readings. As usual, the second half features all the usual Prom favourites including Elgar – Pomp and Circumstance, Henry Wood – Hornpipe, Rule Britannia and Jerusalem all involving plenty of fun for musicians and audience.
“The particular theme celebrates the work of William Shakespeare and his influence on composers. We can only do a limited amount, and there have been lots of concerts this year on a similar theme, but this should be very enjoyable, a lot of popular music plus perhaps some lesser-known works, and we are also incorporating speeches from some of the plays. Michael was a member of Olivier’s company and has got a magnificent stentorian voice.”
The concert is on Saturday October 1 at 7.30pm in the Assembly Hall, Worthing. Tickets on 01903 206206 or online at www.worthingtheatres.co.uk.
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