HOBART CHAMBER ORCHESTRA INC.
Next Concert: Sat 4th April, 7.30pm, Postponed
A Shropshire Lad
Michael Lampard, baritone
Gary Wain, Conductor
St. George’s Church, Battery Point
Franz Joseph Haydn’s Symphony No 44 in E minor, known as the Trauer’ or ‘Mourning’ symphony, is typical of the minor key works of what is termed the composer’s ‘storm and stress’ period. The HCO played with admirable precision and control under Gary Wain’s astute direction. In his introduction the conductor helped the audience’s perception by speaking of the work’s ‘terraced dynamics’, the music being basically loud or soft with abrupt transitions between these extremes. He also made gentle fun of horn player Mandy Parson’s supposed love of the tricky horn writing in the high register, which she of course then delivered with aplomb!
Before his move to the mainland some years ago Tasmanian-born baritone Michael Lampard had established a reputation for his performances of the English art song repertoire. A. E. Housman’s A Shropshire Lad poems (1896) were the source for a number of musical settings in the first decades of the 20th century. All the more touching then that the best of these settings of verses about the loss of young lives was also the finest achievement of young composer George Butterworth who died in action on the Somme in August 1916 aged 31 years. Lampard sang with beautifully rounded tone and sensitivity to the texts. The original piano accompaniment was here most successfully orchestrated by Gary Wain, prefaced by the wonderfully evocative opening of the composer’s orchestral ‘Rapsody: A Shropshire Lad’. Once again the orchestra’s contribution was very fine and carefully rehearsed.
The remainder of the program consisted of Percy Grainger’s arrangement of the famous ‘Londonderry Air’under the title ‘Irish Tune from County Derry’ and Antonin Dvorak’s ‘Serenade for Strings in E Major, Op 22’. The Grainger is always a winner with any audience while the joyous Dvorak work was played with warmth and energy, if not guite the same consistent polish in execution that marked out the rest of the program. This was a most varied concert that provided great enjoyment.