Friday March 14th was concert night for the South Cotswold Youth Orchestra. With a packed audience at St Helen’s in Alveston, the orchestra were buzzing with excitement. The concert opened with Mozart’s ‘Prague’ Symphony which, whilst Mozart’s 38th Symphony, is widely accepted to be the first true symphony in the form we know it today. Written when Mozart was high on the success of his opera, it was written for a special trip to Prague. The first moevement, the longest in any symphony of the 18th century, begins with a powerful Adagio which the orchestra handled very well, before erupting into a fiery Allegro. The last movement is another tour de force, with the strings and wind playing independently, with the music moving through a variety of keys. It is a testament to the ability of these players that they kept their concentration, and their cool, throughout the whole performance.

We were then delighted to welcome our orchestra leader Esmae to the piano, where she performed the second movement of the Brahms Piano Concerto No.2 in Bb. Esmaes performance was not just technical accurate, is showed a great depth of musicality as the music passes between the orchestra and soloist time and time again. Esmae received a fitting enthusiastic reception from the orchestra, and was seen talking to audience members about the piano and her playing at the end of the concert.

SCYO then closed the concert with a performance of Britten’s ‘Soirees Musicales’. This was a part of the centenary celebrations of the English composer taking place around the globe. The orchestra was selected to take part in the Britten and Beyond project (http://www.brittenandbeyond.org) which sees youth groups from around the world coming together to learn and play the music of Britten, and share their experiences of his music. You can visit the orchestra page on the website, and the two pictures below were taken in the concert just before they played the work. The performance itself was technically adept. There were brilliant solos from our clarinet, oboe, trumpet and flute principals, as well as a great sound and brilliance from our strings and percussion. A real treat to hear a youth orchestra play so well. Well done!