Marlborough Concert Orchestra receives £500 from Waitrose’s national grant scheme ‘Music Matters’

 Marlborough Concert Orchestra is delighted to receive a grant from Waitrose’s national grant making scheme which supports musical community activities.The £500 will go towards the cost of putting on a Family Concert.  This will take place on Sunday October 19th 2014 at 3.00 pm in Christ Church, New Street, Marlborough. The concert is for families who are unable to come to the orchestra’s usual concerts held three times a year on a Saturday evening.  Small groups of members of the orchestra will perform short pieces covering a range of styles of music.  There will be an interval with tea and cakes.

 The concert aims to:

  • Introduce the orchestra / classical music to local families
  • Inspire local young people to play

 Ticket prices will be low; just £5 for adults, £1 for children (under 7s free) with all the ticket proceeds going to support Christchurch’s community activities.

Anna Marsden, Publicity Officer for the orchestra explains,” We are thrilled to have been selected for this grant out of applicants from across the country. The money will enable us to reach another section of our local community and raise funds to help Christ Church continuing its community activities.”


Marlborough Concert Orchestra welcomes Menachem Rozin who joins them to perform the Grieg's great Piano Concerto. 

Menachem Rozin was born in 1995 in Israel and began to study piano when he was eight. Within three years he was giving performances with professional orchestras in Israel, and in 2007 he performed in Moscow and Kazakhstan. In 2008 Maxim Vengerov brought him, together with three young violinists, to London for a concert at the Great Hall, Lincoln’s Inn. He joined the Yehudi Menuhin School later that year, where he is studying with Ruth Nye, and has played in a large number of concerts given by the school as soloist and accompanist. He has toured Scotland on three occasions with a group from the school, and in 2010 he gave several performances of Howard Ferguson’s Piano Concerto with the orchestra, including the Thaxted and Shipley Festivals. He has performed at Wigmore Hall, Champs Hill (Sussex), Menuhin Festival (Gstaad) and Burgh House (London), and in 2012 he played live on Radio 3 ‘In Tune’.


Review of the summer 2013 concert

“Oh to be in England, now that summer’s here” (apologies for misquoting Robert Browning)

St Mary’s Church was the venue for the MCO’s Summer Concert of English music - well loosely - in that we first had music by English composers and, after the interval, Haydn’s ‘London’ Symphony.

The orchestra, under Christopher Irby’s baton, opened with the overture from ‘The Wasps’ by Ralph Vaughan-Williams. The strings captured perfectly the sharp buzz and pizzicato ‘sting’ of the opening section before launching into a breezy folk song that, in its turn became a slow lyrical and lush sound. The piece ended with a march-like section that involved strings, woodwind, brass, timpani and harp in a rousing finale.

The second work was ‘A Somerset Rhapsody’, Gustav Holst’s realisation of several folk songs. This is very unlike ‘The Planets’, his best known work. An excellently played oboe solo, above the strings, set the tone for this highly melodic piece.

The first half ended with ‘Sea Pictures’ by Edward Elgar, for which the orchestra was joined by the mezzo soprano, Kirsty Griffiths. She sang the five songs with great clarity and beauty, the orchestra ably providing the accompaniment that Elgar composed for these poems. The final song in particular, with its depiction of a violent storm, perhaps demonstrated the limitations of the acoustics of the church, but this in no way reduced the audience’s appreciation of a lovely voice and excellent playing.

The interval was followed by the Haydn symphony. This is music written by a German who spent most his working life in the Austro-Hungarian court and, whilst not strictly about London (suggestions of a Croatian folk tune in the final movement) it is evident the composer was affected by the bustle of busy London streets and is a reflection of the cosmopolitan nature of the city then, as now.

It was very evident that the orchestra enjoyed completing the concert with this piece; it opened with a sombre adagio, before launching into bright and bouncy allegro. The andante movement began with the strings, tightly unified, before the remainder of the orchestra joined them. The playing of the minuet & trio movement perfectly captured the slightly bucolic feel of an open air dance and the finale - spiritoso was just that: a vigorous and joyful end to an evening of splendid entertainment.

The Marlborough Concert Orchestra, now in its eighth season, gets better on every occasion.

An award for the Mayor’s Minstrels - April 2013

Mayor Edwina Fogg has awarded Marlborough Concert Orchestra with a Waits Badge, a custom dating back to medieval times whereby musicians were rewarded for playing for the Mayor on special occasions. The ceremony took place on Tuesday evening 23 April. 

Marlborough Concert Orchestra put on a Jubilee concert for the Mayor in July 2012 and Cllr. Edwina Fogg has enjoyed the orchestra’s playing on several occasions throughout her term of office.
The orchestra was thrilled to be given a Waits Badge and Chairman David Edward said, “We are most grateful to Mayor for this honour. It has been a delight to play for the town and the Mayor and her support for the orchestra’s activities has meant a lot.”

The Orchestra now looks forward to welcoming Cllr. Loosemore (in-coming Mayor) at its next concert on Sat 8 June in St Mary’s Church, Marlborough, 7.30 pm.

Review of spring concert - Saturday 16th March 2013

England 2 Germany 1

The scores do not represent the full picture as the programme consisted of an overture by Arthur Sullivan, a suite by Edward Elgar and, arguably, Ludwig von Beethoven’s best known symphony. 

The evening kicked off (enough football similes. Ed.) with Christopher Irby conducting the orchestra  in Overture di Ballo, a wonderfully cheerful piece written by Sullivan when in his late twenties. The orchestra grew in confidence as the first of the three dance based movements – the polonaise - progressed.  Signature Sullivan sounds emerged, with the orchestra providing a smooth transition to the waltz section where the timpani, woodwind and strings were clearly prominent.  The entire orchestra joined in the final section, an exhilarating tempo di galop. 

Whilst still clearly English - and even more evidently Elgarian - The Severn Suite was a distinct contrast.  It is one of Elgar’s late works written, aged 73, for a brass band competition and orchestrated subsequently, when he named each of the five movements in honour of Worcester. The sinuous Severn seems to wind its way through the piece, linking all together. The orchestra dealt admirably with the transition from the magisterial first movement [Worcester Castle] to the second [Tournament] where the brass section displayed clear and vivid sounds. Woodwind and strings led smoothly into the third movement [The Cathedral].  The minuet fourth [The Commandery] was still clearly Elgar, whilst the orchestra’s playing brought out the lightness of an earlier age.  In the final coda the players returned to the stately ‘pomposa’ opening before ending with a flourish.

Following the interval for a glass of wine and collection of raffle prizes, the audience settled expectantly for the main event of the evening: Symphony no. 5 in C minor by Beethoven.  We were not disappointed.  This is a disturbing and unquiet piece of music that, despite its familiarity, never ceases to amaze.   The orchestra rose to the occasion.  It may be unfair to pick out particular members for praise, but here goes, anyway.  Charles Giddings on timpani, Sue Ousby on Oboe, the entire ‘cello and double bass sections, the brass, woodwinds and strings - and Christopher Irby - all deserve special mention.  The orchestra saved their best until last, the final movement was a joy. Beethoven’s surging, irresistible sweep onwards, punctuated by soft repeats of the first phrase, took all of us, orchestra and audience, to a thrilling conclusion; a joyous end to a splendid concert.    

Apple tree planting Saturday 1st December 2012

December 2012

Members of Marlborough Concert Orchestra planted an apple tree on Saturday 1st December 2012 as a contribution to Marlborough’s Community Orchard. Marlborough Concert Orchestra, established in 2006, is growing in number and stature and plays an increasingly important part in bringing light and popular classical music to the town. Supporting the Community Orchard seemed an appropriate and lasting contribution for the orchestra to make and the choice of St Mary’s has enabled the orchestra to show its appreciation for use of the church’s facilities. The apple tree, chosen by Philippa Davenport of Marlborough Community Orchard, is a Burn’s Seedling first recorded in 1831 and raised by Henry Burn, head gardener to the Marquis of Ailesbury, at Tottenham Park, Nr. Marlborough.

(Pictured above: Richard Shawand, Philippa Davenport of Marlborough Community Orchard with Marlborough Concert Orchestra members Janet Tanner, Gráinne Leneman, Anna Marsden, Rob Napier and Wyn Eyles)