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Southport Orchestra Next Concert

Reviews Archive 2014-15

news and reviews
Saturday 5th December 2015

Venue: Emmanuel Church


Elgar Cockaigne Overture 'In London Town'

Bruch Violin Concerto No.1 in G Minor
Soloist - Andrew Winter

Dvorak Symphony No.5 in E Minor 'From the New World'

For a finale to the 2015 season, the Southport Orchestra performed its Autumn Concert in Emmanuel Church, Cambridge Road, Southport, before a near capacity audience earlier this December.   Their regular musical director, Jeff Rimmer guided the Orchestra through three favourites from the musical repertoire and the result was an outstanding performance which delighted an enthusiastic audience.
The concert began with the Cockaigne Overture, a collection of London scenes, by Edward Elgar, after which the orchestra was joined by soloist Andrew Winter who gave an outstanding performance of the marvellous Violin Concerto by Max Bruch, a virtuosic piece which explored double stopping, a technique demonstrated by accomplished players of the violin family of instruments.    The concerto ended to rapturous applause by a very appreciative audience, eliciting a standing ovation.   After a brief interval the orchestra returned to perform Antonin Dvorak's Symphony Number 9, 'From the New World.'   This work, beloved of concert enthusiasts showed the Southport Orchestra at its best, in particular, the woodwind section, especially in the beautiful slow movement.   Jeff Rimmer brought from the Orchestra, an air of excitement which typifies this monumental Symphony and delighted those present.
Under the baton of Mr. Rimmer, this local orchestra continues to grow in stature, performing music which hitherto would have not been possible.  The players were augmented by members of other local musical groups, made very welcome by the regular members of the orchestra.   Planning for 2016 is well under way to present further exciting music in Southport by the emerging players in this local orchestra.

Saturday 11th July 2015


Venue The Atkinson 

Rodgers/Hammerstein Selections from The Sound of Music
Moross The Big Country
C-M Schonberg/Boublil/Maltby Why, God, Why?                           
Barry Out of Africa
Bizet Two excerpts from Carmen
Lerner/Lowe Wouldn't it be Loverly
Bock/Harnick Symphonic Dances from Fiddler on the Roof
Lloyd Webber Selections from Phantom of the Opera
Vangelis 492 Conquest of Paradise
Adele/Epworth Skyfall
Barry We Have All the Time in the World
Elmer Bernstein The Magnificent Seven
Bart As Long as He Needs Me
Idle/Du Prez A Song That Goes Like This
Schonberg/Kretzmer Selections from Les Miserables

The Atkinson in Lord Street, Southport on Saturday, 11th July 2015. What a venue!  What a concert!   What an audience!   Southport concertgoers were treated to a superb performance of music from movies and musicals presented by the Southport Orchestra, in a concert which included not only our soloists, Jo Howarth and Chris Rimmer but contained comedic interruptions by an amazing Mr. John Delahunty who also acted as compere.   

In a concert performance which was an absolute sell-out, the players excelled themselves, responding wholeheartedly to the delight of an enthusiastic audience.   Jeff Rimmer, the musical director who conducted the orchestra throughout the whole performance, was ably assisted by the leader, Mel Foster.   Jeff was as much a performer as our soloists, Jo and Chris, responding equally well to the comedy of John Delahunty.

Movies and musicals which formed the basis of the concert, featured selections from shows and films such as The Sound of Music, The Big Country, Fiddler on the Roof,  Phantom of the Opera, the Magnificent Seven and  ending with the musical version of the marvellous Victor Hugo story, Les Miserables. 

Adding their own unique talents to the proceedings, accompanied by the orchestra, were our soloists Jo Howarth and  Chris Rimmer who together magnificently performed the piece, 'A Song That Goes Like This' from the Monty Python Musical, Spamalot.   Jo gave us lovely interpretations of the songs, firstly from Oliver, 'As Long As He Needs Me' and then the cockney classic from My Fair Lady, 'Wouldn't It Be Loverly.'   Then it was the turn of Chris who performed 'Why God, Why' the haunting song from the show Miss Saigon and completing a beautiful rendition the theme song from the James Bond film, 'Skyfall.'   Both these talented artists were the recipients of rapturous applause from a very appreciative audience.   

Since Jeff became the resident conductor of the Southport Orchestra he has worked tirelessly to encourage the players to perform music which hitherto would have been unthinkable and this performance is the culmination of all that effort.   Members of the orchestra offer their appreciation for the help and assistance given them by the staff of the Atkinson.

To conclude, Jeff thanked the audience for their loyal support and introduced once again, John Delahunty who with the orchestra entertained with his rendering of Eric Idles' famous, 'Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life.'

Some comments from members of the audience -

"The concert was absolutely magnificent. We thoroughly enjoyed every single part of it."

"Great concert. Southport Orchestra just gets better and better."

Saturday 28th March 2015


Venue: St John's Church

Rimsky-Korsakov Overture on Three Russian Themes

Shostakovich Piano Concerto No.2 in F Major
Soloist - Tom Kimmance

Brahms Symphony No.4 in E Minor


Last time it was Rachmaninov; this time, Rimsky-Korsakov and Shostakovich. The Southport Orchestra fares well with the powerful rhythms of a country that, with its steppes and boreal forests, its Arctic northern coast, great rivers and  lakes, its orthodox onion-domed cities and former exotically named mountainous moslem republics, dominates the landscape of Eurasia. It is a country of strong feelings and turbulent politics, of Dr Zhivago and Anna Karenina, of tsars and despots, gulags, revolution and civil war, all mirrored in its music. 
The Orchestra began with the little-known Overture on Three Russian themes by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, one-time sailor and inspector of naval bands and then Professor of Harmony and Orchestration at the St Petersburg Conservatoire, in the latter half of the nineteenth century. There was a great opening chord, a series of intricate melodies by the very accomplished woodwind, horns and flutes, then the reassuring sounds of massed strings and the delicate punctuation of the harp. One could almost hear echoes of the Great Gate of Kiev before lively dancing rhythms that might reflect the joys of young Russians not yet burdened by the events of the twentieth century. This was an orchestra clearly enjoying itself and looking as good as its new logo and livery, well demonstrated on an attractive programme, with the title SO Expressive. The fast finale with great runs of notes must have brought a pleased smile to the face of conductor, Jeff Rimmer.
Shostakovich, whose second piano concerto was the next item on the menu, continued the cheerful theme, not always evident in the work of a composer who had experienced both denunciation and laudation but survived even the more repressive Russian regimes. Tom Kimmance coped brilliantly with a tricky piece, written and first performed within the lifetimes of the older generation of players, and was well supported by an orchestra manoeuvring irregular time signatures in the third movement, after a relatively tranquil and moving second movement. At the end there was an unexpected presentation of bouquets by young women rushing out of the audience that must have gladdened the soloist's heart and may have led to amused speculation from within the ranks of the orchestra. It had an element of Russian spontaneity about it: the apres vodka of the slavs?
Aimez-vous Brahms? whispered the heroine of Francoise Sagan's novel of that name to her younger lover. Mais oui, even if the 1961 film of the book (Goodbye Again, starring Ingrid Bergman and Anthony Perkins) used Brahm's Third Symphony rather than the Fourth. But the Fourth would have been equally fitting. There is great joy in this music and the orchestra felt it. There were smiles and great enthusiasm all round and if just occasionally there was a little frisson of insecurity for a few notes, what should one expect of an intense affair, with its dangers and delights? What a pity the interval refreshments were mundane cardboard packets of fruit juice, not the glasses of warm wine that would have been SO fitting a prelude for such passionate music.  The Southport Orchestra attracts excellent players and the sound was magnificent. Jeff, and leader, Melanie Foster, must have been as well pleased as the audience at this outcome of weeks of rehearsal. In the two further concerts in 2015, audiences can look forward to more romantic dalliances (not least the John Barry themes used in Out of Africa) from movies and musicals, in July, and the Bruch violin concerto and the New World Symphony in December. This is a conductor and orchestra of great flexibility, with rich blood in their arteries and veins.

Saturday 29th November 2014

Venue: Emmanuel Church

Wagner The Mastersingers of Nurenburg Overture
Rachmaninov 2nd Piano Concerto
Soloist - Tom Kimmance
Albinoni Adagio in G minor
Soloist - Brian Hodge
Franck Symphony in D minor

Southport Orchestra Concert November 29 2014

A magnificent venue, a wonderfully turned-out orchestra, brilliant soloists on piano and organ, a rich sound and an immensely popular conductor were the ingredients of Southport Orchestra's third concert of 2014. Emmanuel Parish Church with its high roof, its furnishings of solid Victoriana, and its traditional pipe organ, provided a setting in which the audience, several hundred strong, thoroughly enjoyed a programme that played deeply upon the emotions. The concert began with Richard Wagner's overture to The Mastersingers, a tuneful piece that nicely allowed the orchestra's brass to come into its own in a building that could amply accommodate its fullness of sound. 
There followed a real treat with virtuoso pianist Tom Kimmance playing Sergei Rachmaninov's Second Piano Concerto, one of the most romantic and most difficult pieces in the repertoire. Hairs stood out on the backs of necks as Kimmance began the wonderful sequence of eight gradually loudening bars that culminates in a triumphant three notes that bring in the orchestra, with its sweeping melody. At the end the audience showed its great appreciation and was rewarded by an encore piece.
After the interval, the strings and woodwind and Dr Brian Hodge, musical director at Emmanuel, showed their mettle with the very lovely Adagio, based by Remo Giazzotto, in the twentieth century, on themes attributed to the baroque Venetian composer, Tomaso Albinoni. Against a strong and steady background from the lower strings, Dr Hodge brought out the qualities of a wonderful organ built by Harrison and Harrison a century ago and refurbished in 2000, whilst the leader of the orchestra, Melanie Foster, brought the piece to a close with a finely rendered violin solo.
The final piece, Cesar Franck's Symphony in D Minor, is not so well-known but deserves greater exposure; it was a masterly stroke of the conductor, the redoubtable Jeff Rimmer, who has brought the orchestra on in leaps and bounds, to include it. There were some fine performances by the horns and woodwind, with the support of string sections that have shown increasing confidence over the past few years.
All in all this was quality entertainment, capped by a commentary at the end from Jeff, who expressed his appreciation of the audience, the orchestra and the musical environment that Southport had provided for him. It was an evening to remember and that one expects to be matched by the concerts that the orchestra will give in 2015. It would be a disappointment to miss any of them.

This is what one of our audience thought -
" I just wanted to say how much my wife and I enjoyed the concert on Saturday. As someone sitting next to me said, " Do you remember when they used to perform in the ballroom of The Prince of Wales Hotel, haven't they come on in leaps and bounds since then!"
"The strings section sounded better than ever. The choice of pieces made for a wonderful evening. And Tom Kimmance gave an outstanding performance. 
"Some lovely tunes in the Franck and good to hear the organ in the hands of such an accomplished player."

Saturday 21st June 2014

Grand Summer Pops

Venue: Southport Floral Hall

Holst  Mars from Planet Suite
Chaminade Concertino for Flute and Orchestra 
Rachmaninov  Piano Concerto No. 3 (1st movement)
MacCunn Land Of the Mountain and the Flood
Mozart  Piano Concerto No.21 (Elvira Madigan) 
Sibelius  Karelia Suite - 3rd Movement
Sibelius  Finlandia 
Shostakovich  Piano Concerto No.2 (2nd movement) 
Copland  Hoe Down from Rodeo
Mozart  Andante in C for Flute and Orchestra 
Rachmaninov  18th Paganini Variation
Prokofiev  Montagues and Capulets from Romeo & Juliet 
Elgar Pomp & Circumstance March No. 1

For the third year running a capacity audience witnessed a spectacular concert which finished with a standing ovation. The Southport Orchestra have once again raised the bar in what appears to have been their best concert so far. Joined by two key soloists, Peter O'Connor (flute) and Tom Kimmance (piano) the audience were treated to a smorgasbord of popular classical pieces covering a wide variety of styles and composers.

One thing that sets this orchestra aside from most, is its ability to produce a visual experience as well as a beautiful sound. The setting, complete with ambient lighting and star cloth, added to the spectacle and the use of 9 foot screens allowed them to project images and film footage to add to the music. The piece de resistance had to be projecting the piano keyboard up onto the main screens so that the audience could witness the hands of our virtuoso, Tom Kimmance, as he mastered Rachmaninov's 3rd Piano Concerto (including full cadenza).

If you have not yet managed to witness the Southport Orchestra at one of their live concerts please make sure you book a date in your diary (see Forthcoming Concerts). You will not be disappointed !!!!!