WHAT more could you ask for, musically speaking, on St George’s Day than a concert of English music?
And that is what Huddersfield Philharmonic Orchestra has in store at Huddersfield Town Hall tomorrow (April 24) with a programme that celebrates the best of 20th century English music.
That means the music of composers Ralph Vaughan Williams, Malcolm Arnold and Edward Elgar.
The orchestra will play two pieces by Vaughan Williams which are separated in time by just five years. The orchestra will open with Overture to The Wasps and end with the composer’s Symphony No 2, known as The London Symphony, which incorporates the Westminster Chimes.
The orchestra will also play Malcolm Arnold’s Four Cornish Dances, a piece regularly requested by playing members, and an audience favourite.
The Elgar piece, Romance for Bassoon and Orchestra puts the Philharmonic’s David Robinson centre stage.
David was born in Huddersfield and for 20 years has been a full time peripatetic woodwind teacher for Kirklees Music School, mainly in the Batley area, and a bassoon specialist teacher for Kirklees.
He is leader of Batley Music Centre where he conducts wind bands and organises the centre.
He started playing bassoon when he was at Deighton Secondary Modern School. He even remembers the actual date – January 6, 1961.
Not content with mastering bassoon, David plays and teaches all the woodwind instruments – flute, oboe, clarinet, saxophone and recorder.
“I have also played Renaissance instruments and may take that up again in the future,” said David.
“I play the piano well enough to accompany pupils up to grade 5.”
As for favourites, David says he likes and, in his view, plays best on oboe.
“I long to own both a cor Anglais and bass oboe,” he said.
“If I had my time again I might choose the French Horn, but the bassoon seems to have worked well for me so far. I bought a contra bassoon last year so I’m still extending my range.’’
When David lived in Coventry he played professionally until 1989.
“At that time I played with the Birmingham Philharmonic Orchestra which is very similar to Huddersfield Philharmonic Orchestra,” he said.
“I do play occasionally with other orchestras when invited, but the HPO represents my main interest these days.”
Apart from a huge talent for music, David has quite a sense of humour too.
Asked for a story about himself or about the bassoon he comes up with a clutch.
“I once forgot to take my bassoon to a concert,’’ he said.
“And having to play Rossini’s Barber of Seville Overture from memory in a concert after leaving the music at home, was a particularly challenging moment!”
“When I demonstrate the bassoon in front of school children I ask them the name of the instrument and they often say a buffoon, bazooka or even Bagpipes. I try my best.”
And on other musical mishaps, he says: “Turning up at a rehearsal at 12.50 when told the rehearsal was ‘10 to one” was a serious misunderstanding and meant I had no rehearsal at all for a concerto performance.”
When he is not playing music, David loves to sing.
“I have been told (by many people who do not know me as a bassoonist) that when I sing I sound like a bassoon,” he said. “I usually take it as a compliment.”
It clearly is, for David sang with St Michael’s Singers in Coventry Cathedral for many years and has aspirations of joining Huddersfield Choral Society one day.
Tomorrow’s concert will be conducted by the orchestra’s principal conductor, Natalia Luis-Bassa.
The Venezuelan conductor, who now lives in the Holme Valley, began her musical studies at the age of 15 where she studied oboe at the world famous El Sistema.
In addition to the Philharmonic, she works as musical director of the Haffner Orchestra in Lancaster and the Hallam Sinfonia in Sheffield.
Natalia lectures part-time at Huddersfield University and is a professor of conducting at the Royal College of Music.
Tickets are available for the first time online via the orchestra’s website at www.huddersfield-phil.org.uk