Review: Dunelm Consort and Players, ‘Acis and Galatea’

As ever, the Dunelm Consort and Players have produced an excellent authentic performance with Handel’s ‘Acis and Galatea’. One of the composer’s greatest works, it tells the story of a love triangle between the mortal shepherd Acis, the sea-nymph Galatea and the Cyclops Polyphemus. Although Acis is tragically killed by Polyphemus, Galatea, who showed no affection for the cyclops, transforms him into a water feature, enabling everlasting love. From the onset, the quality and coordination of the ensemble is very apparent, with credit due to the clarity and expertise of Matthew McCullough as director. Intonation is very accurate and...

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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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Upcoming Events

Wed 12

Lunchtime Concert #10

12 December 1:15 pm - 2:00 pm
Durham
Wed 12

DUCB and DUBB: The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

12 December 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Durham
United Kingdom
Thu 13

DUPO Chamber: Hats, Tangos and Shakespeare

13 December 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Durham
Fri 14

Choral Society: On Christmas Night

14 December 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Durham
Jan 28

Northern Lights & Full Score Gala Concert

28 January 2019 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Durham