KCO Concert in June 2005
|Mendelssohn||Overture to 'Son and Stranger'|
|Beethoven||Piano Concerto No 5 in Eb (soloist Samantha Ward)|
|Kodaly||Summer Evening: A Tone Poem for Orchestra|
|Cherubini||Symphony in D Major|
This concert featured the 22 year old Pianist, Samantha Ward in Beethoven's Piano Concerto No.5 in Eb, the "Emperor".
Samantha made her concerto debut in 2000 as a result of winning the Chetham's concerto auditions, and she has since been offered concerto appearances with several orchestras around the UK. She has given recitals in venues such as Manchester's Bridgewater Hall, St David's Hall, Cardiff and St James Church Piccadilly, London. She has appeared on HTV Wales, S4C and Granada television, as well as on Classic FM Radio and in the Classical Music Magazine in January 2003.
Samantha was a prize winner in the finals of the Texaco Young Musician of Wales Competition and the Oxford Music Festival, and recently, she won both the John Ireland Piano Award at the Guildhall School of Music and the Making Music Award for Young Concert Artists. A review of a concert she gave in St Catherine's College, Oxford University, 2004, said, 'Samantha Ward is a pianist of outstanding quality.'
The concerto was followed by Kodaly's tone poem Summer Evening. Although there is no specific programme to this piece, Kodaly said, 'it was conceived on some summer evenings, amidst harvested cornfields, by the ripples of the Adriatic'. This is a wonderfully atmospheric work and it is steeped in the tradition of Hungarian folk music.
These two pieces were framed by two less well-known works - the rarely performed overture to Mendelssohn's only operetta Heimkehr aus der Fremde(Son and Stranger) and Cherubini's lively Symphony in D major that was commissioned by the Royal Philharmonic Society in 1815. 2
The following review appeared in the Surrey Comet on 29 June 2005.
The latest concert by Kingston Chamber Orchestra had all the ingredients for a pleasing performance, writes Jim Addington. The audience at Kingston Parish Church were treated to wide-ranging pieces, some lesser-known, by famous composers.
It was 23-year-old Samantha Ward who shone as she performed Beethoven's fifth which was the main piece of the night. Being led by their permanent conductor, Andy Meyers, the KCO began with Mendelssohn's overture to his opera 'Heimkehr aus der fremde', a rarely played piece which he composed when he was 20.
Beethoven's fifth presents a daunting task for both the soloist and the orchestra because it is so well known. A highly dramatic work, there are many parts where the pianist has to carry the themes alone, requiring considerable dexterity. It was a task Samantha Ward carried out to perfection, producing a sound fully in the Beethoven tradition and in fine co-ordination with the conductor. It was easy to see how, at such a tender age, she has achieved so many prizes in competitions in many parts of Britain.
Next came 'Summer Evening', a tone poem by the Hungarian composer Zoltan Kodaly. This provided a complete change of tone, with the woodwinds carrying the emotional message.
The final piece was Cherubini's D Major Symphony which provides echoes of the Franco-British war. Resident in France in 1815, he visited Britain just before the battle of Waterloo, to fulfil a composing engagement for the Royal Philharmonic Society. This symphony was one of the works completed just one week before its performance and was notable for its rhythmic and lyrical style in which the flute played an important part.
All of the orchestra produced a full and satisfying sound and this was a performance worthy of many professional orchestras.