Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Northampton Symphony Orchestra concert

10 December 2019

As regular readers will remember, the official start of Christmas is the annual Northampton Symphony Orchestra Christmas Cracker concert. After last year’s Victorian-themed concert (as part of our 125th anniversary season) on Sunday afternoon we finally got to play the ‘Heroes and Villains’ concert that we had to cancel at the last minute two years ago because of snow. A large, enthusiastic audience of all ages joined us at the Spinney Theatre in Northampton – many of them dressed as their favourite heroes or villains. There were some amazing costumes on display in the orchestra as well – a few of which were quite disturbing! Alongside the usual Christmas carols and festive medleys, we saluted heroes and villains with music including John Williams’ ‘Superman March’, the ‘Overture to The Crimson Pirate’ by William Alwyn, ‘Men of Sherwood Forest’ by Doreen Carwithen (which we had played at our concert in Clifton Cathedral in Bristol in November), ‘How The Grinch Stole Christmas’ arranged by Jerry Brubaker and ‘Music from Frozen’ by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, arranged by Bob Krogstad. ‘Frozen’ was a particular hit with the younger members of our audience, and featured a beautiful violin solo by Scott Blundell. Scott had been called in at the eleventh hour to deputise for NSO leader Stephen Hague after Stephen was suddenly taken ill last Thursday. He is now recovering well but Scott did a wonderful job as leader in his absence. The centrepiece of the concert was Carl Nielsen's ‘Aladdin’ suite, originally written 100 years ago in 1919 as incidental music for a production of ‘Aladdin’ at the Royal Theatre in Copenhagen. For the NSO Christmas Cracker concert Graham Tear wrote a new narration which was woven into Nielsen’s music with the help of NSO conductor John Gibbons and theatrically performed by our compère, Alan Bell. It was great fun and a clear highlight of the concert for many members of our audience.

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