Magazine article Musical Opinion

James Allen Community Orchestra at St John's

Magazine article Musical Opinion

James Allen Community Orchestra at St John's

Article excerpt

The James Allen Community Orchestra, based around their eponymous School in south-east London, under their dynamic founder-conductor Rupert Bond, presented a programme For Those in Peril on the Sea in aid of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution at St John's, Smith Square on 13 September. I was told that this was the only orchestral concert being given that night in London, for it clashed with the Last Night of the Proms.

There was something of a Proms atmosphere at this concert also, which had to be curtailed from the original advertised programme, in that Mendelssohn's Concert Overture Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage was omitted owing to the length of the concert. We might have done with rather calmer waters, but the programme in fact opened with a powerful account of Wagner's Flying Dutchman Overture, in which Rupert Bond made no attempt to tone down the powerful brass. In some respects this was not as reprehensible as might be thought, for the power and impact of the piece came over admirably. This was followed by a very rare performance of Alan Bush's Variations, Nocturne and Finale on an Old English Sea-Song for Piano and Orchestra, in which the commanding soloist was the gifted Mark Bebbington, whose excellent SOMM-CD of solo piano music by Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco has just been issued on SOMM New Horizons CD-032. …

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