Wolverton Light Orchestra and the Music Makers of Milton Keynes gave a super concert on Saturday 11 March in St Mary and St Giles Church.
Beethoven’s ‘Egmont Overture’ was the dramatic opening to Wolverton Light Orchestra’s Saturday evening concert. The sense of urgency and grandeur within the composition was skilfully conveyed by the thirty performers, making a powerful impression on the appreciative audience. ‘Gopak’, a Cossack dance by Mussorgsky followed, a perfect light contrast to the first piece, with the Slavic harmonies bringing the joyous dance alive.
The audience was then delighted by the Music Makers of Milton Keynes who presented a wide ranging selection of traditional English Folk Songs, directed by Brian Dipple. ‘Early One Morning’ revealed the heartbreak of deception, ‘Oh Waly Waly’ showed the pain of love and ‘Dashing Away with the Smoothing Iron’ humorously described love among the repetition of household chores – three contrasting pieces which really showed the skill of the Music Makers.
William Boyce’s ‘Symphony No. 4’ was the orchestra’s next performance, a lovely lyrical piece which evoked both precision and gaiety within three dance movements. It was like being in Jane Austen’s drawing room!
To take us up to the interval, we heard Franz Lehar’s ‘Gold and Silver Waltz’, another wonderful piece which made us want to take to the floor.
After the interval, we heard Vaughan Williams’ ‘English Folk Songs Suite’, a rousing rendition of ‘Seventeen Come Sunday’, an evocative and wistful ‘My Bonny Boy’ and cheerful, upbeat ‘Songs from Somerset’. The first movement of Boccherini’s ‘B Flat Symphony’ followed, a return to the Eighteenth Century, the expertise of the orchestra and their conductor, Mike Crofts, very apparent in this challenging piece.
A lyrical interlude was next as the Music Makers presented ‘What a Wonderful World’ and Elton John’s ‘Your Song’, two reflective pieces celebrating life’s wonders. Strauss’s ‘Thunder and Lightning Polka’ gave us a stirring tempo, before the final piece, Mozart’s ‘The Magic Flute’ Overture, The orchestra rose to the challenge of this compelling and – yet again – highly demanding composition, showing their energy, clarity of contrasting sections and vibrant approach.
Thank you to Mike Crofts for his conducting and illuminating introductions to the orchestral pieces and to Brian Dipple and the Music Makers for their enjoyable selection of songs. Thanks, too, to the tea makers and servers, to these who donated cakes and others who helped in any way to ensure such a wonderful and varied evening of music.
The audience said:
‘I loved all of it. It was brilliant.’
‘The Beethoven was the best!’
‘My favourite was the Folk Songs.’
‘I've never heard the WLO before, but it was excellent!’
Words by Andrea Hearne, photos by Jeff Wright