Review: Promenade Concert Orchestra

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A review by Juila Glossop

A capacity audience was transported from grey and drizzly Morecambe to a 
glittering Viennese ballroom at The Platform.

They opened the concert with the ever-popular overture to ‘Die Fledermaus’, and this set the scene for a selection of waltzes, marches and polkas by Johann Strauss II and his contemporaries.

In waltzes such as Waldteufel’s ‘Jeunesse Doree’ and Strauss’s ‘Voices of Spring’ the orchestra ably demonstrated the characteristic Viennese lilt, guided through the many changes of tempo by Howard Rogerson.

The polka, ‘Thunder and Lightning’, also by Strauss, gave the percussion players a chance to shine, and was beautifully interpreted by 18 dancers of Turning Point Theatre Arts, Lancaster, and choreographed by Gail Johnstone, while the familiar ‘Tritsch-Tratsch Polka’ was played with great verve, leaving the audience breathless!

In a change of pace, Valerie Baulard led the audience in the chorus of the march ‘Berliner Luft’, and the martial mood was also evident in the Grand March ‘Florentiner’ in which the piccolo tune could be heard rising above the full orchestra at the conclusion.

One ‘English’ waltz was included in the programme - The ‘Mayfair Waltz’ from the ‘London Again Suite’ by Eric Coates, which had a subtly different feel to the earlier Viennese waltzes.

Howard Rogerson dedicated this item to the memory of Hugh Stalker, a former member of the PCO and a highly-regarded musician, who died recently.

This exhilarating concert ended, as is traditional, with ‘On the Beautiful Blue Danube’ and the ‘Radetzky March’, 
both featuring the young dancers. The orchestra regularly fills The Platform for concerts, and it is evident that audience members greatly appreciate the opportunity to listen to this kind of music, with some travelling many miles to attend.