Plymouth Symphony Orchestra: Movie Nights at the Guildhall (review)

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Plymouth Symphony Orchestra: Movie Nights at the Guildhall

Plymouth might just have missed out on its bid for City of Culture status, but topping and tailing this ‘Movie Nights’ programme with music by Devonport-born composer Ron Goodwin, confirmed, at least, that it does have a musical heritage.

Film music is an audio-visual experience, but where the musical themes are less memorable, it tends not to succeed as well in the concert-hall, usually lacking the kind of development more akin to classical music.

However, it is well orchestrated and designed to bring the very best from its players, and conductor Anne Kimber could again scarcely have asked more from her loyal band of musicians, led by Paul Mathews.

From the powerful horn-playing in 633 Squadron, the delicate string-work in Walton’s Henry V Suite, the overall-assured brass contribution in the James Bond Medley, to the confidence of the percussion and woodwind sections, here was something for all movie-buffs.

Given the significant number of young people present, bass-player Judy Whitlock’s knowledgeable spoken introductions might have focused more on musical snippets and listening tasks, than the programme notes themselves, especially when the PA system needs such crucial fine-tuning.

But the tremendous performance of Pirates of the Caribbean, and Michelle Andrew’s contrastingly-haunting penny-whistle playing in Titanic will surely have made this another evening to relish.


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