Hertfordshire Chamber Orchestra Delights Audience at St Peter & St Paul Church, Tring at a Rennie Grove Benefit Concert

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Paul and Roberto with Orchestra

The Hertfordshire Chamber Orchestra is celebrating its 50th Anniversary Year and recently welcomed back Paul Barritt as their Director.

Paul conducted and played as a soloist at a delightful concert in support of Rennie Grove Hospice Care last Saturday 14th April, 2018 at the Church of St Peter and St Paul in Tring.

The first item was the little-known Suite in D Op. 49 by Saint-Saëns. Paul who makes a point of explaining and commenting on each piece before it is played playfully emphasised its lack of fame, "Yes, it really is little known," he remarked. "In fact we don't know it either. Tonight will be the first time that any of us have ever played it!". Of course this quip rather belied the orchestra's preparation and rehearsal and it was, as usual, played faultlessly. A piece at times lyrical, and at others, romantic, constructed around dance rythms and yet containing delicate passages it is a happy and enjoyable piece and it is surprising that it is not played more often.

And then for something completely different as Paul Barrit played as the soloist in that old favourite, The Lark Ascending by Vaughan Williams. "Not that," quoth Paul - who is quite knowlegeable about birdsong - "it really resembles the lark's song at all." But the melodies are indeed evocative of a bird singing and ascending. It's no accident that, among English audiences especially, it should be popular with its suggestion and feel of birdsong in a summer meadow. It was a seamless partnership between orchestra and soloist and Paul's playing could only be described as "exquisite".

Also unfamiliar but very lively and great fun was a short piece by Bottesini (who he?) entitled Gran Duo Concertante. This was originally written for 2 double basses but we were treated to a sort of "sports model" version with just one double base soloist, the exuberant and flamboyant guest soloist Roberto Carrillo-Garcia. With its hints of Spanish or Latin Amercan cafés and dancefloors it was a rumbustious and rollicking piece and played with bravura.

The final and longest piece was Beethoven's Symphony No. 1 and despite it's familiarity was as enjoyable as ever, and of course the brilliance and mastery of the composer never ceases to amaze.

The next concert to look out for will be by Tring Chamber Music and will be on Sunday 27th May at 7.30 p.m. in Hastoe Village Hall, beautifully restored 6 years ago. Roberto Carrillo-Garcia will be back with his double bass.

Tickets available by post (send an SAE and please make cheues out to "Tring Chamber Music" from 1, Pendley Bridge Cottages, Tring, Herts HP23 5QU. E-mail contact via jehorder@aol.com. Visit the website www.tringchambermusic.co.uk