Guildford Symphony Orchestra Spring Concert, Charterhouse, 27 March 2022

Guildford Symphony Orchestra Spring Concert, Charterhouse, 27 March 2022
Type of post: Press article
Sub-type: No sub-type
Posted By: Felicity Howgate
Status: Archived
Date Posted: Tue, 29 Mar 2022

Guildford Symphony Orchestra, Charterhouse, 27 March 2022


Sebastian Forbes


If you attend a concert given by the Guildford Symphony Orchestra under Darrell Davison, you can be confident that it will be a professional presentation, beguiling the fact that nearly all the players are amateurs.   Darrell gets the best out of them all.   As one former player said to me years ago, “With Darrell you certainly get your money’s-worth”.

Their concert at Charterhouse School Hall on Saturday 27th March 2022 was no exception.  It was a joy, for orchestra and audience alike, to be back together once again, after the two-year hiatus.  The traditional format of Overture - Concerto - interval - big Symphony continues to work well, particularly as Darrell cleverly selects a less-known overture, promotes a brilliant concerto soloist, and concludes with a big romantic symphony.

Elgar’s Froissart overture, of 1890, reminds us that there is a lot of music by Elgar, prior to his Enigma  Variations, that calls for fuller recognition. 

We were interested to learn of Darrell’s chief activity during ‘lockdown’ - composing a new concerto for his orchestra.  Gregorian chants formed the basis for colourful reflections on Bosch’s extraordinary painting ‘The Garden of Earthly Delights’.  Saxophonist Jose Manuel Brazo was a star, playing a different saxophone for each of the three sections of the work.  Virtuoso technical mastery flowed with apparent ease.   A bonus was that, despite all the intense activity of the music, his tone was consistently pleasing, avoiding the brashness of so many saxophonists.

I can recall many concerts by this orchestra which feature a large-scale symphony.  Once again, with Dvorak’s ‘New World’ Symphony, the players rose to the challenge.  What an exciting performance it was!   A resounding success.