Jaguar Land Rover Band15-Nov-2012
Golden Jubilee Concert
Conductor: Dave Lea
Featuring: Laurence Lyndon Jones (organ)
Saturday 3rd November
Ticket holders for the final concert celebrating Coventry Cathedral’s Golden Jubilee enjoyed the added bonus of having their ticket money refunded after sponsors Jaguar Land Rover generously stepped in to cover all the costs relating to the event.
Although the cathedral makes for a spectacular setting, its generous acoustic presents a few problems, with an echo of approximately five seconds.
This caused a little muddiness in ostinato passages, whilst in some of the slower solo phrases it was as if an echo pedal was in operation.
Nevertheless, the band coped well with all the pitfalls, aided by some intelligent work from the percussion section.
The ‘Fanfare’ from ‘Le Peri’ got things off to a fine start with its organ-like sonorities and distinctive harmonies, whilst the music from ‘Jurassic Park’ displayed lovely horn sounds at the opening and well-balanced playing throughout.
Principal cornet Paul White was a classy soloist, with ‘Cry Me a River'; his clear sound carrying nicely over the band, before the impressive kit player, Francesca Lombardelli, was featured in ‘Sing, Sing, Sing’.
The expansive tones of Peter Graham’s ‘Swedish Folk Song’ led into a brisk romp through the ‘Finale from Pineapple Poll’, causing compère Ian Russell to question Dave Lea’s assertion that he was going to take things steady because of the acoustic: He didn’t – and all the better for it.
Andy Bates’ mellow flugel tones were heard to good effect in ‘Georgia On My Mind’, although his sound was at times masked by the positioning of the music stand.
‘City of Three Spires’ was one of the last works written by Leslie Condon, who composed it for the centenary of the Salvation Army’s work in Coventry.
The title refers to the spires of St Michaels (the old cathedral), Holy Trinity and Christ Church - such prominent features even in today’s city landscape.
The opening fanfare featured ‘Ein Feste Berg’ and led into the central section using the tune ‘St Michael’, complete with echoes of the approaching planes and the destruction caused by the Second World War bombing.
The finale, using ‘We’ll lift up the Banner’ and Eric Ball’s ‘Torchbearers’, was a reminder that it was at Coventry that the first Salvation Army flags were presented.
After a well earned break, a sensibly paced rendition of Sparke’s ‘Jubilee Overture’ preceded Kevin Lea’s commanding performance of ‘Morceau Symphonique’.
The grandeur of ‘Montagues and Capulets’ then made for a good contrast with ‘Seventeen come Sunday’ and the more operatic Queen power ballad, ‘Who Wants to Live Forever’.
Ian Wright’s performance of ‘Benedictus’ worked particularly well, although the blazing entry of the cornets and percussion came as a surprise to many in the audience.
Acknowledging the approach of Armistice Sunday, together with the cathedral’s mission of reconciliation, the band presented an effective setting by William Lippeatt combining ‘Auld Lang Syne’ and the ‘Last Post’, with the solo cornets standing behind the choir stalls.
For the finale, organist Laurence Lyndon Jones joined forces for the famous ‘Symphony No 3’ by Saint-Saens – delivered with excellent tuning and balance to round off a fine concert in rousing style.
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