Seldom have we seen Holy Trinity Church so full as it was on the evening of 20th June for the summer concert of Trowbridge Symphony Orchestra. The players under the competent baton of Gareth Harris opened the concert with Beethoven’s Egmont Overture. The work is really a tone poem depicting the war between Spain and Flanders. From the first chord the attention of the audience was arrested and maintained throughout by the imaginative interpretation. Lovely dolce solos from the oboe and the clarinet contrasted with fortissimo tutti. The work ended with a triumphant climax as Egmont is depicted facing his execution with courage.

The soloist in the Max Bruch Violin concerto (No1) was introduced by the conductor. She was 16 year old Katherine Stonham who attends John of Gaunt School. After a drum roll and a few chords from the orchestra Katherine entered with an impressive statement of the first theme which left us in no doubt of her competence and virtuosity. Playing the whole work from memory, she demonstrated her mastery of double stopping, harmonics, complex ornamentation and overall musical communication.

In the second movement, Katherine conveyed deep feeling and pathos and she was accompanied sympathetically by the orchestra. She displayed her rich tone in the lower register and enjoyed all the lavish ornamentation of the theme.

The contrasting vivace third movement romped along with Katherine exhibiting a level of virtuosity unbelievable in such a young player. The final escalation ended in a dazzling climax. The audience was ecstatic and the prolonged applause showed its appreciation of such amazing young talent. Katherine should go far in the musical world.

The second half of the concert was devoted to a performance of Haydn’s Symphony No.104 – the “London” – his last symphony. A slow introduction to the first movement presented some challenging octaves for full orchestra. The Allegro was in much lighter vein with the string section particularly playing with great verve. The repeated notes of the main theme were tossed from instrument to instrument. There were moments of seriousness but on the whole the orchestra communicated the high spirits of the music. The slow movement is one of the loveliest of Haydn’s. The contrasting variations were very well interpreted with some simple tunes played beautifully in turn by flute, oboe and bassoon. The boisterous Minuet gave us some charming surprises and some testing scales after which the Minuet returned with great gusto. The fourth movement is a country dance played by 1st violins over a drone in horns and cellos. The vigorous mood of the movement was interrupted by more pastoral moments of beauty, the flute again interpreting these very well. The symphony ended with a grand tutti. How fortunate Trowbridge is to have such an enthusiastic group of musicians.

John Buckler