Review: DUOS Cathedral Concert

The two orchestras comprising Durham University Orchestral Society performed a spell-binding concert to a packed audience in the magnificent Durham Cathedral. The Chamber Orchestra began the concert with ‘Echoes of Ossian’ by Niels Gade. The dynamic control, warm intonation and luscious legato this ensemble can create was immediately clear with the opening subtle string chords. Phrasing throughout the work was very thoughtful, although occasionally the motion towards climaxes could have been a tad smoother just before arrival. The players clearly had a strong communication with the conductor, Josh Ridley, and were very responsive to his direction. Timing was very good, though I was not convinced of the decision to play arpeggio chords in the violins starting on the beat, as this occasionally came across as being out of sync. Sophie Hill’s clarinet solo hovered beautifully above the surrounding texture and Evan Penn on the horn played the repetitive semiquaver motif passage well. Next, they played Ottorino Respighi’s ‘Trittico Botticelliano’, a three-movement programmatic work representing three renowned paintings by Sandro Botticelli. A perfect start, with dreamingly energetic strings beginning ‘La Primavera’ (‘Spring’). The excitement in their playing filled the Nave’s echoic acoustic and was captivating. The flexibility in sudden changes in dynamic was tingly to witness and the timing excellent, particularly in the triplets and Tippett-esque irregular rhythms. The final flourish of the strings was incredible; a testament to the...

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Review: DUCE’s ‘An die Freude’

The Durham University Classical Ensemble have had an amazing year. The Classical Ensemble fills a gap in the Durham music scene, exploring new and perhaps more niche repertoire that suits the players and also working towards historically informed performance practice. DUCE’s concert on Friday evening in the Town Hall embodied this ethos, with  an exciting and dramatic rendering of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, Weber’s Clarinet Concerto No.1, and Haydn’s Creation Overture. As my own overture to an appraisal of the performance itself, I shall briefly address issues specific to this Classical Ensemble. The historically informed performance movement has moved from the fringes of musical performance practice to...

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Review: Voices ‘Tunes in June’

Voices commendably performed their last concert of the year, ‘Tunes in June’, in St Oswald’s Church. Beginning with the classic ‘Oh Danny Boy’, there was clear communication between the conductor, Daniel Murphy, and the singers. The text was clear, and intonation remained sound throughout the a capella piece, and although balance was a challenge given the serious gender imbalance, the sole bass, Andrew Narracott, could be heard well and was performed admirably. Next was ‘Rocky Road to Dublin’. The tempo was a good choice in providing energy in the performance, although the text was occasionally lost, and I would’ve...

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Review: DUPO 10th Anniversary Concert

The Palatinate Orchestra celebrated their 10thanniversary with an interesting and eclectically programmed concert in the aptly grand setting of Durham Cathedral. This concert showcased some of the most successful works that DUPO have performed over the last decade to an enthusiastic full house. DUPO’s Chamber orchestra opened with Bartók’s Romanian Folk Dances and the third movement of Dvořák’s eighth symphony, conducted confidently by Harry Lai. The dynamic variation in the ensemble was good and generally the players were very responsive to Harry’s baton. A particular highlight was the first movement of Nielsen’s Flute Concerto, stunningly performed by soloist Giselle Lee. Clearly...

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Review: Concert Band Celebration

Building upon their success over the past academic year, the Durham University Concert Band and Whitworth Park School (& Sixth Form College) came together to present their programme: A Concert Band Celebration. Outreach events have also included Durham University music students and GCSE students from Whitworth; joining together to work on musical performance and composition techniques, helping to build confidence and musical skills. It was a pleasure therefore, this evening, to hear the collaboration of two very talented groups of musicians, which are at the forefront of fostering musical development outside of school and university environments. The Whitworth Park...

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Upcoming Events

Wed 24

Lunchtime Concert #3

24 October 1:15 pm - 2:00 pm
Durham
Wed 24
Fri 26

The Sixteen: The Choral Pilgrimage 2018

26 October 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Durham
United Kingdom
Wed 31

Lunchtime Concert #4

31 October 1:15 pm - 2:00 pm
Durham
Nov 03

Harp Masterclass with Rachel Masters

3 November 9:30 am - 12:30 pm
Durham