Sunday 23 June 2013, King's Hall, Ilkley
Sunday 7 April 2013, King's Hall, Ilkley
Sunday 20 January 2013, Victoria Hall, Saltaire
Sunday 18 November 2012, King's Hall, Ilkley
Sunday 17 June 2012, King's Hall, Ilkley
Sunday 18 March 2012, King's Hall, Ilkley
Sunday 22 January 2012, Victoria Hall, Saltaire
Sunday 13 November 2011, King's Hall, Ilkley
Saturday 25 June 2011, Leeds Town Hall
Sunday 3 April 2011, King's Hall, Ilkley
Sunday 23 January 2011, Victoria Hall, Saltaire
Sunday 14 November 2010, King's Hall, Ilkley
Sunday 29 June 2010, King's Hall, Ilkley
Sunday 21 March 2010, King's Hall, Ilkley
Sunday 15 November 2009, King's Hall, Ilkley
Sunday 21 June 2009, King's Hall, Ilkley
Sunday 22 March 2009, King's Hall, Ilkley
Sunday 18 January 2009, Victoria Hall, Saltaire
Sunday 9 November 2008, Leeds Town Hall
Sunday 29 June 2008, King's Hall, Ilkley
Sunday 9 March 2008, King's Hall, Ilkley
The ASO's attack of the dramatic opening chords of Beethoven's famous Egmont Overture gave the capacity Sunday afternoon audience in Saltaire's handsome Victoria Hall a foretaste of the treat in store. Here was a performance full of fire and urgency with John Anderson's finely judged changes of mood, from darkness and defiance to triumph, bringing the overture to a white-hot climax. The gentleman sitting next to me commented, "well, that really warmed us up!".
Anderson's reading of Beethoven's "Eroica" Symphony was appropriately broad and expansive. The "Eroica" lasts over 50 minutes and is constructed on a grand scale. The ASO's conductor did not press too heavily, but allowed the great work to unfold. Especially impressive was the range of emotion displayed in the slow movement; the players expressing the grief of the C minor opening to the solace of C major. Anderson's moderate tempo for the Scherzo paid dividends by way of clarity and crispness of textures, even if one would have liked a touch more vivacity in this movement.
The fiendishly difficult cadenza opening of the final movement was played with ferocious precision and then Anderson steered his players through the hardly less demanding set of variations and fugue. Every section acquitted themselves with distinction, but I particularly noted the overall tightness of ensemble, fullness of string tone - with not too much vibrato, beautifully pointed woodwind, and the warmth of the brass.
Bruch's Violin Concerto No 1 introduced the young Kazakhstan-born violinist, Galya Bisengalieva, whose dazzling appearance and engaging platform manner lit up the Victoria Hall. She produced a rich, glowing tone and her playing encompassed the broadest dynamic range. Bisengalieva's hushed solo entry at the beginning of the yearning slow movement was breathtaking. In the Allegro Finale she conveyed a youthful, virtuosic exuberance that swept all before her. The full house, held in thrall throughout her performance, burst into prolonged applause. Bisengalieva charmingly responded with two J.S Bach encores.
The Airedale Symphony Orchestra's next concert is in the King's Hall, Ilkley on Sunday 22nd March at 7.30pm
Geoffrey Mogridge, Ilkley Gazette and Wharfedale & Airedale Observer