More than 200 braved increasingly wintry conditions on Saturday to enjoy a programme of musical celebration performed by Lord Williams’s Festival Chorus, accompanied by the Ealing Symphony Orchestra under the leadership of musical director John Gibbons at Thame Leisure Centre.
Sergei Rachmaninov’s Spring, with Bass Baritone soloist Keel Watson, celebrated the birth of a new season and the release of the torment of the long, cold and dark Russian winter.
Japanese violinist Midori Komachi entranced the audience with her performance of Felix Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in E minor, widely regarded as his finest concerto.
A celebration of the dreaming artist was portrayed by the chorus, orchestra and Welsh mezzo soprano Eirlys Myfanwy Davies in Edward Elgar’s hauntingly beautiful The Music Makers.
The work, based on Arthur O’Shaughnessy’s poem Ode, depicts the isolation of the creative artist and the importance of artists in society. “We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of dreams... Yet we are the movers and shakers, of the world for ever, it seems.”
The concert would not have been complete without a nod to St Patrick, and the orchestra played the beautiful Irish Melody by Frank Bridge, better known as The Londonderry Air.
Have your flags at the ready for the next Festival Chorus concert, on Saturday July 7, which will be a rousing Proms style-event featuring Parry’s Jerusalem and Elgar’s Pomp & Circumstance No. 1, among many other favourites.
Laura van der Heijden, winner of the 2012 Young Musician of the Year competition, will play Dvorak’s Cello Concerto in B minor.