The Slaithwaite Philharmonic Orchestra gave a concert for all tastes as they played their way through a programme of four works, three of which were interpretations on aspects of Romeo and Juliet, spliced with a dose of Armenian culture in the shape of Khatchaturian’s Violin Concerto.
Conducted by Lawrence Killian, they opened with Tchaikovsky’s well-known Romeo and Juliet, the players responding well to their guest conductor and the woodwind being particularly effective.
The tone was rich and well balanced throughout, only showing slight degradation in pianissimo string passages.
For the Violin Concerto the orchestra were superb, managing awkward cross rhythms and changes of tempo as if there was nothing more natural.
Soloist, Martyn Jackson played with great technical ability especially in the cadenza. He was also equally at home playing an Armenian folk tune or bringing out a mysterious melancholy in the second movement.
After the interval the lovers’ predicament in Delius’ The Walk to the Paradise Garden, with its lush harmonies and sultry textures, was evident.
One could be forgiven for wondering if the musicians would be wilting as they came to the Symphonic Dances from West Side Story by Leonard Bernstein.
Not so, they even had the audience shouting “Mambo!” by the end.
Joined by a substantial percussion section, they controlled the intricate rhythms, styles and moods of this piece although some of the tenderness and emotion was lost.
For much of the evening it was easy to forget that here was an amateur group, such was their musicianship.