Review: Huddersfield Philharmonic Orchestra
VENUE: Huddersfield Town Hall
By William Marshall
THE Huddersfield Philharmonic is fortunate in having a horn section that can step from the back to the front of the stage in order to perform the devilishly demanding Konzertstuck by Schumann.
Effectively a concerto for four horns, it is a piece that players of this temperamental instrument dream of performing but sometimes shy away from.
There was little outward evidence of the latter attitude on Saturday.
The quartet of Bob Shaw, Kylie Long, Nick Barber and Judith Stones performed with conviction and confidence from the swaggering first statement onwards.
There could have been more light and shade in the overall performance. We were confronted with a wall of horn sound which was inevitable, of course, but it did sometimes mean that detail was hard to discern.
There were times when the orchestra could have backed off and given the horns more space.
But this was a fine achievement by a horn section, which also played its customarily full and demanding role in the rest of the opening concert for the new season.ŠConducted by Natalia Luis-Bassa, the philharmonic as a whole achieved an excellent standard in a programme that also included Beethoven’s Leonora No 3 Overture and Schubert’s epic Symphony No 9.
Throughout the concert there was well-tuned, buoyant string playing and there were several instances when movements or pieces concluded with a really exciting flourish, coupled with rhythmic discipline.
All that was missing, perhaps, was a greater dynamic range.
The horns were the stars of the show, but during the course of the concert several other wind sections and individuals made telling contributions, such as the trio of trombones in the Schubert and there were beautifully executed solos on flute and oboe.