The February Concert presented by Tayside Symphony Orchestra has become associated with light music and Saturday’s performance was no exception.
Under the baton of Andrew McGarva, ‘Curtain Up!’, a compilation of well-known songs from Broadway and West End shows including ‘A Chorus Line’, ‘Mamie’, ‘Funny Girl’, ‘Gypsy’, ‘Annie Get Your Gun’ and ‘Phantom of the Opera’, set the tone for the evening.
The programme continued with the overture, ‘Si J’étais Roi’ by Adolphe Adam, which was reminiscent of ‘The Barber of Seville’ and ‘Carmen’. Selections from West End and Broadway favourites followed, with those from ‘Wicked’ and ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ being particularly rousing. It would be easy for some sections of the orchestra to overpower others in such arrangements, but particular mention must go to the horn and brass sections for the warmth and tone of their interactions with the woodwind and strings in these places.
The string section was given centre stage for Barber’s ‘Adagio for Strings’. This is a challenging piece even for professional orchestras to perform, and the section is to be congratulated for capturing the mood and melancholy of the composition.
The second half opened with another overture, ‘Zampa’, by Ferdinand Hérold. This piece is rarely performed, but the melodies gallop along and it is an interesting piece, well played by the orchestra.
The concert concluded with some well-known favourites from Gilbert and Sullivan, themes from James Bond films and a selection from ‘West Side Story’. Many members of the audience were to be heard commenting that they had found it difficult to resist singing along - testament to the popularity of the pieces performed.