From the New World
The Three Graces of Milton Keynes
The opening concert of the Milton Keynes City Orchestra's new season saw the appearance of three outstanding women performers from the world of classical music. The newly-appointed Principal Guest Conductor of the orchestra, Sian Edwards, produced some of the most exciting playing that you will hear anywhere from a professional orchestra. In Leonard Bernstein's ebullient overture to his black comedy 'Candide' the mood of vibrant energy was immediately established with consummate playing from all sections of the orchestra. In Dvorak's ever-popular 'New World' symphony the conductor wiped away a century of spurious tradition and returned the listeners to the symphony as originally written - it was like hearing this marvellous music for the first time, and all the better for that. In Samuel Barber's evocative 'Knoxville', local favourite Cheryl Hawkins caught the mood of languorous innocence that the poem and music encompass. It was a delicious interpretation of a rarely performed masterpiece. The other highlight of the concert was an incisive performance of Gershwin's jazzy piano concerto with Joanna Macgregor bringing her usual insight and energy to this amazing composition. The applause was loud and long for all four of these amazing musical graces and the orchestra and conductor are to be congratulated for such an imaginative piece of programming. Dawson Construction Plant is also to be congratulated for providing the sponsorship that made this concert possible.
Reviewer: Roy Tipping