We are a string orchestra of about 25
players, based in Bridport, Dorset, in a beautiful region of the south coast of
England and normally perform three concerts each year.
Our players come from a wide
area of West Dorset, East Devon and Somerset, mostly within 25 miles of Bridport
orchestra was formed in the autumn of 1975 by the conductor Bruce Critchinson.
There are still one or two founder members playing with the orchestra,
originally the New Elizabethan Players, now known as the Bridport Chamber
have a broad repertoire embracing many composers from baroque to
Spring 2018 Concert Review
From British patriotism to the plains of South America - Bruce Upton
Orchestra gave its spring concert last Sunday to an appreciative
audience in St Swithun’s church, Allington. Pared back to strings
alone, the players showed discipline and excellent tonal control as
they tackled Holst’s “I Vow to Thee, My Country”, followed by
Henry Purcell’s Abdelazar suite (famously used by Benjamin Britten
in his “Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra”). The short
movements which make up this piece sounded like a series of samples
rather than finished works, but under the leadership of Alexandra
Ennis our players conveyed their wealth of musical ideas and rhythms.
Stuart Ellsmore, on
solo trumpet, then gave an exciting rendering of a concerto by Tony
Hewitt-Jones, written in 1986. His brilliant attack, the
unpredictable harmonies and the subtle interplay between soloist and
orchestra made this an exciting piece to listen to.
By contrast, the Handel
Concerto Grosso which followed it was comfortable listening, familiar
and predictable but nonetheless competently given. Without the
distraction of brass or woodwind parts we were able to hear the
complexities of Handel’s scoring, and the balance between the
different orchestral sections was well maintained.
On Sunday the global
musical establishment mourned the loss of José Abreu, founder of the
phenomenally successful “El Sistema” music schools in Venezuela
and copied elsewhere. In tribute, and at the last minute, the
orchestra performed “Alma Llanera”, a wonderful evocation of
South America and a sort of unofficial National Anthem of Venezuela.
We would expect nothing less from Arturo Senna, the conductor, and it
made a bitter-sweet finale to an excellent concert.