National Youth Recorder Orchestras Great Britain

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Review of the Summer Concert at St. David's Denbigh

The Summer Course 2013 ended with a concert in St. David's, Denbigh, featuring guest artiste Charlotte Barbour-Condini.

NYRO Summer Concert with Charlotte Barbour-Condini
Conductors Chris Orton and Michelle Holloway

at St David’s Church, Howell’s School, Denbigh

The end of course concert for NYRO’s Summer school was held in St. David’s church Denbigh. This sizable 19th century church is the chapel for Howell’s school and gives a concert space with a warm acoustic where the sounds of the orchestra and also the small chamber groups come across really well.

As last year the chamber groups had a chance to play before the main event and it was good to see players with different levels of experience being given the opportunity to perform in this way. It is great to see recorder players being encouraged to perform in one to a part consorts.

Before I write in a bit more detail, one or two general comments. The first is about the choice of music. With the exception of a lovely arrangement of the 1st movement of Bach Brandenburg 2 all the major pieces were recent compositions for the recorder orchestra. A music teacher friend who attended commented that the programme was unbalanced towards the contemporary repertoire. There are some fine arrangements of other music for recorder orchestra beyond the contemporary and it would have been good to hear one or two in such a programme. The second was about the use of the acoustic. Now and again I was aware that the band was losing focus in some of the rhythmic passages where a bit more articulation and air would have helped.

One must mention the contribution made by Charlotte Barbour-Condini. Charlotte had been with NYRO for a day or so before the concert to rehearse wind-wynd by Colin Touchin she with the orchestra gave a very effective perfomance of the work. She also played a couple of solo items in the concert. Wonderful for the course members to have such an inspirational young player to work with them and to hear her perform with such assured maturity. 

I really like the way that NYTRO performed in various groups. Giving players the chance to perform standing and from memory was such valuable experience if I suspect rather scary!

The big ensembles were enjoyable  I particularly enjoyed the Schnabel Feuer und Eis that ended the concert. The Colin Hand’s Souling song is now a stalwart of the recorder orchestra repertoire and received an excellent performance. There were solid performances of works by Hans Joachim Teschner and John Hawkes,

The seniors who make up Blockwork gave a spirited performance of the first movement of Brandenburg 2. It did take a couple of bars to settle down, perhaps there was a little insecurity about who was leading the start. The Maute that followed demonstrated the virtuosity of the ensemble.

Many thanks to the tutors for the Summer School and all who helped it to run for the week. Sadly it probably cannot be held at Howell’s school again as only a week later the announcement came that the school is closing this September.

NYRO is much more than this Summer School and concert, there are study days and an Easter course as well.  Thus behind the scenes there are many others who contribute to teaching, administration and the running of the residential courses. Andrew Short’s invaluable contribution from the inception of NYRO to the present was acknowledged at the concert with a presentation as he stood down as Chairman.

For the future NYRO is going to stand separately from the Society of Recorder Players although it will continue draw on the society’s support. It is looking to gather support and sponsorship from other bodies as well. It is such a valuable resource for the future of our instrument in the UK that I hope that some of the readers of this review will find out more about how they can assist NYRO in raising the funds it needs to continue its work.

David Allen August 2013

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