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A Time for Peace

Maidstone Wind Symphony; Maidstone Choral Union
Conductor: Jonathan Crowhurst
Featuring: Matilda Lloyd
Maidstone Leisure Centre
Saturday 10th November

'A Time for Peace' was designed as a meditation in words and music  to mark the end of The Great War, but also reflecting on other conflicts and atrocities. 

Jake Runstad's 'Let My Love Be Heard' was written as a choral piece in memory of a choir member killed in the Paris shootings of 2015. It transferred effectively to the wind band medium and was followed by the first of several First World War poems.

Wistful nostalgia

The six songs of George Butterworth's 'A Shropshire Lad' were sung by tenor Martin Hindmarsh, freshly arranged for a pared down wind ensemble.  The textures closely matched the lyrics, particularly the wistful nostalgia of the final, 'Is My Team Ploughing?'

'Bugles Song' and 'For the Fallen' were written by Martin Hindmarsh, with the wind arrangements undertaken by his brother Paul. A false start was quickly overcome, before a fine contribution from young trumpeter Joseph Pickard emerged from the dark, dissonant underlying harmonies in 'For the Fallen'.

The chorus came into their own in the second half with Karl Jenkins' 'The Armed Man'.

Better is Peace' returned to the original theme, with the words 'Better in Peace than always War' leading to a powerful finish, despite the testing soprano writing.

Drum and off-stage piccolo introduced the theme, the verses separated by brass fanfares.  Soprano soloists Rosie Waddington and Iris Korfker featured in the 'Kyrie' and 'Now the Guns have Stopped', while the trumpets were again present in 'Sanctus' and 'Agnus dei'.

There was no euphonium soloist in 'Benedictus', but some particularly fine cor anglais playing instead. 

'Better is Peace' returned to the original theme, with the words 'Better in Peace than always War' leading to a powerful finish, despite the testing soprano writing.

Evocative

The players rose to their feet as Matilda Lloyd played 'Last Post' and the 'Rouse' before being joined by pianist Leo Nicholson for 'Seven Halts on the Somme'.  

Making inventive use of muted passages, flutter-tonguing and playing across the strings of the piano, it was a most engaging and evocative performance.  

Matilda and euphonium player Phil Neeve united in 'Meditation' from 'Triumph of Time' before the concert ended with a thoughtful account of 'Nimrod'.

Peter Bale

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