By Barbara Fear

A capacity crowd welcomed Orchestra Kingston and the Kingston Community Strings to their inaugural joint concert at The Isabel concert hall on May 8.

A carefully chosen program engaged the audience who responded with enthusiasm.

Canadian composer Godfrey Ridout’s rousing “Fall Fair”, conducted by Wayne Tindale, united the musical forces on stage and filled the hall with rich exciting sound.

Following, in contrast, Maestro Tindale conducted John Rutter’s “Suite for Strings”, a work filled with stylish sophistication and a gentleness of mood that captivated the audience once again. Revealing hints of familiar themes throughout, the Strings brought a tenderness to the music which ended with a rhythmic third movement.

Concluding the first part of the programme, Mendelssohn’s “The Hebrides, op.26” took the full stage with conductor John Palmer. Evoking the roiling foam of a storm on the water surrounding Fingal’s Cave in northern Scotland, the music’s strong, dynamic themes showcased the brasses. As the force of the storm declines, a peaceful calm spreads throughout the music.

Sir Malcolm Arnold’s “Little Suite (No. l)” opened the second half of the programme.

Once again, the hall was rewarded with a pleasing work, that challenged and enlightened the audience and orchestra alike. The work was originally composed for the National Youth Orchestra of Britain which Arnold founded, and revealed a unique and pleasing sense of style which he espoused as a non-conformist of his time.

Concluding the evening, Conductor John Palmer’s original composition in four movements, “Suite of Spanish Dances” gave the ‘grand’ touch to the Grand Finale. Comprising music related to four similar but different dances in the Spanish style, it roused endless musical visions of Matadors, Bull Rings, sensuous Tango dancers, Carmen Miranda and her Rumbas with great aplomb.

Need I say it was a ‘blast’? It left the audience a tad breathless, yet eager for more.

All in all a successful evening of memorable music, talented conductors and musicians, and hope of another such concert to come.