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Freeland Orchestra

Rehearsing in Stanton Harcourt,
Near Witney, Oxfordshire

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July 1st 2022

What a delight to be listening again to live performances from the Freeland Orchestra and West Oxfordshire Winds, under Wendy's thoughtful and energetic leadership.


To open the evening, we were transported to the continent with a lively performance of Gounod's Scherzo and Trio (from Symphony No.1), lyrical passages interspersed with punchy staccato from the strings, the dialogue between wind and string sections suggestive of a tea dance (and allowing the oboe to shine). The Allegro from the same symphony followed this toe-tapping introduction, the opening staccato bars catching our attention before the main theme allowed different instruments to shine, and providing a glorious and entertaining climax.


This was followed by Ronald Binge's Elizabethan Serenade (fitting for this platinum jubilee year), the bright sound of the woodwind shining above the warmth of the strings as the orchestra rocked the audience with the swinging rhythms of this piece.


The swinging motif continued with Gershwin's depiction of An American in Paris and the addition of drums, saxophones and bass clarinet to the orchestra. Intended by Gershwin as a 'light jolly piece', the performance showed us various moods of the title character: a jolly swagger in Paris through busy streets with car horns and the sound of hurrying trains contrasting with the contemplative passages suggestive of the character's longing for home. We could 'see' him stopping and setting off again through Paris as we enjoyed Gershwin's trade mark harmonies. These scenes really came to life in this atmospheric rendition.

(Annette Lord)


Orchestral programme:

1st & 3rd movements from Symphony No. 1 - Gounod


Elizabethan Serenade - Binge


An American in Paris - Gershwin


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