Saturday 18th June 2016 – St James Church, Taunton

Conductor – David Hedges

Butterworth – The Banks of Green Willow
Grieg – Peer Gynt Suite No 1 and No 2
Tchaikovsky – Symphony no 6 Pathetique

Saturday 5th March 2016 – Queen’s College, Taunton

Conductor – David Hedges    Soloist – Tim Lowe

Borodin – In the Steppes of  Central Asia
Moeran – Concerto for Cello
Tchaikovsky – Symphony no 2

Saturday 6th December 2015 – St Mary’s Church, Taunton/Sunday 13th December 2015 – St Mary’s Church Chard

Conductor – David Hedges    Soloist Alex Ennis

Mendelssohn – The Hebrides Overture
Richard Wagner – Siegfried Idyll
Heath – Concerto for Violin & String Orchestra
Schubert – Symphony no 5

Saturday 24th October 2015 – Queen’s College, Taunton

Conductor – David Hedges    Soloist – Jonty Hedges

Rimsky – Korsakov – Capriccio Espagnol
Ibert – concerto for Flute
Tchaikovsky – Symphony no 4

Review

With a commanding flourish Somerset County Orchestra plunged into Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Capriccio Espagnol”. It made an excellent curtain-raiser to their first concert, showing off all sections of the orchestra to advantage, albeit with some minor wobbles in the horn section. The overall confident and rhythmical style of playing suited this piece to perfection. Dramatic dances, playful solo passages, and even castanets, all contributed to an intense Spanish atmosphere.

“Concerto for Flute” by Ibert continued the energetic and colourful mood. Jonty Hedges was outstanding as the soloist, diving confidently into the complex and demanding semi-quaver passages with which the work starts, and equally engaging in the more languorous second movement. The overall orchestral sound was cohesive and beautifully phrased, with some especially luscious string sounds.

The climax of this excellent concert was Tchaikovsky’s extravagant Fourth Symphony. The arresting, and well-known, brass opening was given its full worth in this performance, justifying the composer’s description of it as “the fatal force … one must submit to it”. Playing in every section of the orchestra was full of spirit, stylish and very expressive. David Hedges, conducting, is to be congratulated on the expert way he marshalled and controlled his large forces. The Orchestra has more Tchaikovsky planned next year – don’t miss it! Sue Goodman 25/10/15