Henley Symphony Orchestra presented a splendid concert on Sunday, showcasing the spectacular trumpet player, Matilda Lloyd. It got off to a truly magnificent start with Lloyd’s stunning playing in Haydn’s Trumpet concerto, her sparkling playing reflected by her fabulous sparkling outfit. As many will know, Haydn wrote this concerto for the ‘new’ type of trumpet developed by his friend, Weidinger. It was able to provide a far wider register than previous models and Lloyd certainly demonstrated the full range of the instrument playing with flair, speed, accuracy, enviable breath control and great joy throughout. What a delight to hear a live soloist and orchestra under the baton of their talented musical director, Ian Brown. The Haydn was greeted with enthusiastic applause with Matilda Lloyd taking several bows. Such a joy.
The second piece, Copeland’s Quite City, was much less well known. Of its time with a hint of the blues, it was a real contrast to the Haydn but offering an equally excellent platform for the solo trumpet. It was written in 1939 and so although there is more than 100 hundred years between the Haydn and the Copeland, there is a clever link as The Trumpet Concerto, returned to popularity in the 1930s. Quiet City is dramatic yet contemplative, with the trumpet conjuring up a vision of wistful loneliness, similar to that created by Edwards Hooper’s paintings. The trumpet, (Lloyd) was joined by a solo cor anglaise played beautifully by Jasmine Huxtable-Wright while the strings provided just the right mystic, swirling atmosphere. It was originally intended as incidental music for a play but while the play had a very short life, Copeland’s composition has lasted in various versions. In this piece, Lloyd demonstrated her versatility while Jasmine Huxtable-Wright highlighted some wonderful cor anglaise passages. Again, the orchestra created a sensitive sound for the soloists and I especially enjoyed a lovely passage where the soloists rose above the quiet cello and double bass sections.
Brahms’ beautiful Symphony no 3 in F major filled the second half of the concert where possibly many of the audience felt they were now on home ground. This was reflected in the confident playing of the orchestra who were clearly enjoying the performance. Huxtable-Wright now back in the wind section contributed to the fine harmony of this section. The lyrical second movement following from the strong romantic first was especially beautiful. Here confident strings sounded on safe home ground, especially the lower strings and there were great passages where French horns and flutes lead the music along. The third movement with intricate passages kept faith while the final Allegro was a rich tapestry of strong wind against a tapestry of strings. A glorious finale to a truly wonderful concert.
Photo: Benjamin Ealovega