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CONCERT, 12 NOVEMBER 2016
On Saturday 12 November the Orchestra played Strauss waltzes and overtures, introduced by John Suchet as he told the story of the Strauss dynasty - Johann senior, Johann junior and Joseph. John's book on the subject was also on sale. The concert ended with the rousing Radetzky March and John Suchet even took the baton briefly for an encore!
See the photo below and others on our Flickr page
NEW CHAIRPERSON AND VICE-CHAIR
Andy Bestwick has been appointed Chairman of the Orchestra, with Jenny Hand as Vice Chair. They will be sharing some of the tasks carried out by Pat Dobson who stood down as Chair at the end of last season.
The Leicester-educated composer and music director Kathleen Shanks was commissioned to write a children's anthem, 'Gloria In Londinium' for the 2012 London Olympics. She was later commissioned to write a version of the song for Prince Harry's Invictus Games and members of the Leicester Symphony Orchestra went down to Abbey Road Studios on 8 November 2014 to record it in aid of Prince Harry's Invictus Foundation and Help The Heroes.
The Orchestra provided ten instrumentalists to accompany members of the Leicester Philharmonic Choir, children from the London based Capital Arts Children's Choir and the London Children's Opera Company plus the London Cantamusica Choir.
90 YEARS ON
On 12 July 2013 the Orchestra held a Dinner to celebrate its 90th Anniversary season. This was attended by the Lord Mayor of Leicester and his Consort, the present Conductor John Andrews, a former Conductor Pavel Kotla, the author of the recently published book about the Orchestra Neil Crutchley, members of the Orchestra and their guests. To see the photographs of the occasion taken by Jeremy Oakley and Tom McClure please click here. For details of Neil Crutchley's book, including how to purchase it, please see the Home page.
30 YEARS ON
This photo, taken in 2013 by Paul Cole, is of LSO members with 30 or more years' service. For each, the date of joining LSO is given. They are:
Back row, left to right: Paul Gray, clarinet, 1976; Thelma Bull, viola,1972 then regularly from 1982; Robert Greenlees, clarinet, 1973; Graham Tomkinson, double bass, 1963; John Wakefield, violin, 1982; Brian Evans, violin, 1977 and Caroline Roberts (née Smith),viola, 1974.
Front row, left to right: Terry Weston, tuba, 1965; Malcolm Roe, cello, 1974; Pat Dobson, cello, 1982; Karen Hardy, flute, 1982 and Roy Print, violin, 1979. Shelagh Thomson (not on the photo), originally violin and now bassoon, has also given 30 years' service from 1979.
Terry Weston is proud of the fact that he is only the third tuba player in the LSO's history. The first two were: H Rainbow from 1922 to 1931 and Albert Morris from 1932 to 1965.
REVIEWS 17 NOVEMBER 2010 TO 18 FEBRUARY 2012
The LEICESTER MERCURY did not publish Reviews of the 10 November 2012 or later concerts.
LEICESTER MERCURY Review by Neil Crutchley
De Montfort Hall, Leicester
Saturday 18 February 2012
The Leicester Symphony Orchestra with Conductor John Andrews and violin soloist David Le Page
Conductor sparks excitement
What was originally going to be a guest appearance with the Leicester Symphony Orchestra turned out to be John Andrews's first concert as its new conductor.
His recent appointment promises to be a fruitful collaboration as, on this showing, he has a distinctive musical personality. Equally important: he has a clear beat, gives plenty of cues and sets sensible speeds that allow the players time to phrase and articulate.
We began with Holst's flamboyant ballet suite from The Perfect Fool - a work dealing in the conjuring of spirits that is as brilliantly orchestrated as The Planets. It was played with verve and enthusiasm and Andrews created some exciting climaxes, not least in the explosive final dance, but the jagged-rhythms, awkward entries and strong dynamic contrasts made great demands on the players.
David Le Page's refreshingly unsentimental account of Bruch's celebrated Violin Concerto in G minor was beautifully realised, with bright, strong tone, good dynamic contrast and sense of spontaneity that was particularly appealing - especially in the finale. The orchestra was equally distinguished, playing with complimentary refinement and accuracy.
Like the Holst, Berlioz's ground-breaking, hallucinatory Symphonie Fantastique makes considerable technical demands, but the orchestra had been well prepared. The performance gathered in intensity and confidence as it progressed from a relatively restrained and tentative first movement to a stylish and dynamic finale that rose to a tremendous final climax; made all the more effective by outstanding percussion and timpani playing and the conductor's refusal to rush the final bars.
LEICESTER MERCURY Review by Peter Collett
De Montfort Hall, Leicester
Saturday 12 November 2011
The Leicester Symphony Orchestra with Conductor Levon Parikian
So captivatingly sad and sobering
A concert of music influenced by the First World War began with George Butterworth's Banks of Green Willow; a performance with some lovely moments including a delicate flute and harp passage. By the exquisite closing of the piece it felt as though the orchestra had reached their comfort zone.
The first movement of Ravel's Le Tombeau de Couperin swirled and bubbled delightfully, having a good sense of line and emotion. The Forlane had a trance-like quality, the Menuet flowed gracefully. The Rigaudon danced with spirit.
A fascinating pre concert talk by Imperial War museum historian Dr Toby Haggith and composer Laura Rossi had charted the restoration of the film The Battle of the Somme and the composition of a new score.
The film itself proved to be superbly restored and Rossi's score was captivating, conveying the mood of the film to perfection. It brought to life the expectant marching troops, preparations for battle, shelling of enemy lines, scenes of fighting and the grim reality of wounding and death.
From excitement to industry, perfectly timed gunfire, to sadness and despair, the music complemented the film in a seamless and atmospheric accompaniment which became one with the moving images.
The orchestra gave a stunning performance and had clearly put a lot of effort into ensuring this was the star of the evening.
A sobering, artistic end to the eve of Remembrance Sunday!
LEICESTER MERCURY 24 May 2011 Review by Neil Crutchley
De Montfort Hall, Leicester
Saturday 21 May 2011
Revelling in rarely-heard patriotism
I wouldn't be surprised to find that Leicester Symphony Orchestra's performance of Elgar's rarely-heard symphonic prelude Polonia turned out to be the work's Leicester premiere.
The piece is one of a series of patriotic works Elgar wrote during the First World War in support of Belgium and Poland. It uses Polish airs and tunes from Chopin and Paderewski along with original material. But master of his craft as always, Elgar combines these elements into a work with his own fingerprints on every bar.
It's not one of his greatest creations but it's very enjoyable and well worth the orchestra's time in preparing the splendid performance: vigorous, dynamic and passionate. Conductor Jacques Cohen clearly revelled in the rich sonorities of the orchestra and organ.
Elgar's Cello Concerto, written just after the war, inhabits a different world. No flag waving here. The composer was devastated by the conflict and this spare, melancholy and intensely beautiful work was his response.
David Cohen gave a superb performance, bringing the haunted introspection with exquisite phrasing and compelling musical insight. Rarely has the final epilogue sounded so moving.
In Saint-Saens' Organ Symphony, Cohen's broad pacing and meticulous attention to texture and detail resulted in a persuasive performance that was far from routine. Peter Weston provided a stylish account of the all-important organ part.
LEICESTER MERCURY 15 February 2011
De Montfort Hall, Leicester
Saturday 12 February 2011
The Leicester Symphony Orchestra with Rainer Hersch, comedian and conductor, Leicester Mercury review by John Dilleigh
Rainer got Bizet with the batons and it was classic
"The last night of the proms... ever" was the LSO's contribution to the Leicester Comedy Festival and, while comedy and classical music are not obvious bedfellows, with the multi-talented Rainer Hersch at the helm, an evening of laughs was guaranteed.
It kicked off with an irreverent version of the national anthem, and was followed by a lampooning of just about every aspect of classical music.
The guest soloist was the impressive baritone Mark Holland whose first contribution was a hilarious arrangement of Postman Pat, sung in full operatic style.
He went on to give us renditions of arias by Rossini and Bizet, beautifully sung but with "helpful" translations for the audience projected on to a screen.
Hersch has been compared with Victor Borge and Gerald Hofnung and, in demonstrating the similarities between a didgeridoo and a vacuum cleaner pipe, one could see why.
Leicester Symphony Orchestra, fully entering into the spirit of the evening, played with style and panache throughout, particularly in Ronald Binge's Elizabethan Serenade and Puccini's Humming Chorus where they played and hummed!
The evening concluded in true proms style with soloist and a large flag waving audience singing an alternative version Rule Britannia.
LEICESTER MERCURY 17 November 2010
De Montfort Hall, Leicester
Saturday 13 November 2010
Musical feast for the eyes and ears
Leicester Symphony Orchestra and dancers from the Ann Oliver Stage School and Leicester College of Performing Arts combined to produce a feast for eyes and ears.
The beautiful prelude from Delibes' Coppelia introduced the Mazurka together with a well-choreographed and executed dance routine.
Khachaturian's Adagio from Spartacus began with graceful dancers clad in flowing orange, complementing the melodic, if slightly nervously played theme.
Playing confidence grew as the theme developed and both pairs of dancers for the love theme gave attractive performances.
A suite from Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake began with a confident and lilting introduction. Dancers from some of the youngest to some of the more senior graced the stage to provide the visual impact, looking immaculate in costumes depicting scenes from the ballet including swans and Spanish senora.
Bernstein's lively overture to Candide contained some delightful musical detailing and introduced a set of attractive English Dances by Malcolm Arnold.
Borodin's Polovtsian Dances from Price Igor demonstrated beauty and drama in performance of both dance and music, bringing the concert to an exciting conclusion.
Guest conductor John Andrews drew a crisp and lively performance from the orchestra while the well-rehearsed dancers clearly enjoyed themselves and produced a splendid visual spectacle.