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Review of 25th November 2023 - by Paul Nash

The Scarborough Symphony orchestra reaches its final crescendo of the Saint-Saens 3rd Symphony and the mighty organ of the Queen Street Methodist church fills the hall with the final chord and the hairs on my arms stand up. A fitting end to the fantastic first concert of the Orchestra’s season, playing to an appreciative full house.

 The programme started no less dramatically with a complex snare pattern kicking off the Highlanders March from the excellent Polonia Suite from Panufnik, a set of 5 Polish dances. Of particular note were the beautifully ambient drifting 4th movement, with a gorgeous piccolo solo swirling around the hall and the tutti fortissimo finale, a wild dance of pure organised musical chaos.

 One of my personal favourites, Mozart’s Piano Concerto No.20 followed, brought to popular attention from the film Amadeus. The accomplished soloist Przemyslaw Winnicki appeared to be channelling Mozart himself, his hands a blur over the keys intersecting the fantastic string melodies that make this piece so memorable. The Steinway model D, hired in especially was as magnificent as the playing, beautiful power and tone. I was transfixed throughout, and I have to say the orchestra did the concerto proud, a slice of pure joy.

 After the break Shaun Matthew, accomplished director and conductor of the orchestra, explained that tonight’s programme selection was all about love for the human race, something that was sadly needed in today’s modern climate. Now the fabulous Saint-Saens, not often played, but how could the SSO resist with that magnificent organ looking down over the orchestra concert after concert. Anthony Cross played the imposing instrument with its 16 foot pipes with nothing short of majesty. The interleaving with the orchestra, subtle at first, becomes irresistible and more pronounced and as the symphony progresses and then the orchestra ramps up the power for the final section leading to the final huge chord - all stops out!

 Next concert on the 10th Feb 2024, but be early as the popularity continues to grow these concerts are sure to sell out and deservedly so.

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