Amateur music-making goes from strength to strength in Oxfordshire these days...orchestras, folk groups, chamber ensembles and especially community choirs seem to be springing up everywhere. The Freeland Orchestra, a particularly lively addition to all this musical enjoyment, started in 2007, and the West Oxfordshire Winds in 2010. There is also a Clarinet Choir, started in 2012, for higher grade clarinettists.
In spite of sweltering heat, a near capacity audience enjoyed a varied, well-chosen programme in Eynsham Village Hall, with a collection in aid of the Nasio Trust, a local charity.
The orchestra, who performed first, gave us a rousing programme ranging from Bach to Fritz Spiegl. The hall has a dry acoustic which shows up every detail, but the intonation was generally excellent. Under the clear, incisive beat of founder/conductor Wendy Marks, they gave a rousing account of Mendelssohn's overture "Ruy Blas", followed by sensitive performances of Ravel's "Pavane" and Warlock's "Capriol Suite". The strings produced some lovely pianissimo playing in the Ravel, and in the Warlock the orchestra coped very well with these deceptively simple pieces, which are full of pitfalls, especially in the "Bransles" movement. The flutes sounded lovely in "Sheep may Safely Graze", (beautifully arranged by Wendy Marks) and the first half of the concert concluded with the "Radio 4 Theme", a medley of British folk tunes ingeniously put together by the legendary Liverpudlian composer Fritz Spiegl. (Rachael Sherlaw-Johnson)
Ruy Blas Overture - Mendelssohn
Pavane pour une Infante défunte - Ravel
Capriol Suite - Warlock
1. Basse Danse 2. Pavane 3. Tordion 4. Bransles 5. Pieds en l’air
6. Mattachins (Sword Dance)
Sheep May Safely Graze - Bach arr. Marks
The Radio 4 Theme Tune - Spiegl