Concert review – the Presidential Suite – 16 April 2016

Reviewer says that in Overture Peterloo the “light and shade of the event was well conveyed”.

“The Presidential Suite”

Trianon Symphony Orchestra & Choir

with students from St. Albans Catholic School

Ipswich Corn Exchange 16th April 2016


Trianon’s annual spring concert conducted by Professor Christopher Green is where the group shows its versatility by performing works of a more classical trend in contrast to its light-hearted Christmas concert repertoire. Saturday’s performance included three pieces by two of the Group’s Presidents – Malcolm Arnold and John Rutter – plus a symphony by Tchaikovsky and vignettes by Paul Dukas and Vaughan Williams, a mix that gave the ingredients for orchestra and choir to shine throughout the evening.


The concert started with the Arnold Overture: Peterloo with lyrics by Sir Tim Rice, a stirring yet little performed account of a yeomanry assault on a political gathering in Manchester in 1819 when people were killed and injured in the resultant panic. I had not heard this before and wondered what it might have to say, but the light and shade of the event was well conveyed in its playing and words. Rutter’s arrangement of Amazing Grace for choir and harp then preceded Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 2 (Little Russian) to close the first half. Again, as with the Arnold, this is not one of the often-played collection but my goodness it soon made its presence known and left no doubt that it was typical of the composer even if you didn’t have a programme to tell you. Each of the four movements exuded its interwoven theme – I particularly liked the jolly and catchy “tumpty-tumpt” Andantino Marziale – and the roof was lifted in the grand finale when the full power of the orchestra was unleashed to such energetic effect that I would not be surprised if the string section went home with RSI.


The second half was principally John Rutter’s Mass of the Children where the choir was joined by 24 students from St. Alban’s Catholic School – thoughtfully placed centre stage – and also featuring Ipswich mezzo soprano soloist Muriel Kwint and London baritone Tim Gillott. This delightful work gave the opportunity for the students to perform in typical Rutter style against an understated orchestral background which came across beautifully. Well done girls. Music is about enjoying the moment for both performers and audience and this was a very fine end to a splendid evening.


Stuart Reid