Both the Westmorland Orchestra and Westmorland Youth Orchestra are enterprising societies and this was fully demonstrated when both orchestras combined to form what is probably the largest orchestra ever to have performed in Kendal’s Westmorland Hall. Around 120 players graced the stage and it was heart-warming to see youngsters in their teens sitting beside players of a much older vintage.
The concert arose out of an invitation from the senior orchestra to stage a joint concert and the commissioning of a new work for the two orchestras from local composer Roland Fudge, the conductor of the Westmorland Youth Orchestra. The result was one of the most exciting musical events (and there have been many) to be staged in Kendal in recent years. After separate performances, the two orchestras joined forces for Roland’s new piece and a selection of John Lanchbery’s ballet music written for the Beatrix Potter film of 1972.
There were many high points in this concert, one of which was the première of Roland’s new work, The Long Pursuit. Roland explained that the inspiration for this piece came from his preoccupation with a poem about a chase. The idea of predator and prey was transformed musically into antiphonal interchanges between the two orchestras and a reconciliation allowing the two groups to end together harmoniously. The work was imaginative and cleverly scored, setting players in both orchestras some rhythmic challenges but, at the same time, recognising that less experienced players have certain technical limitations. It is a work which should be taken up by other amateur societies; there are very few works of this kind which allow young and not so young players to work side by side.
The performance of the Beatrix Potter ballet music was a visual spectacle, as well as an exciting auditory experience and a fine ending to a most enterprising musical venture; a model of integration and collaboration across the age divide.
Grieg Anitra’s Dance from Peer Gynt
Khachaturian Sabre Dance, Embroidery of the Carpets
Gershwin Walking the Dog (solo flute – Lizzie Briggs)
Tchaikovsky Swan Lake Ballet Suite
Roland Fudge The Long Pursuit (Première)
Khachaturian Adagio of Spartacus and Phrygia
Lanchbery Beatrix Potter Selection
Westmorland Hall, Kendal Leisure Centre