Reviews

“The resulting performance was first-class…” 25th October 2017 - Herts Advertiser critic John Manning was impressed by the 2017 St Cecilia Festival Concert in St Albans Cathedral “Probably the biggest achievement of the St Albans St Cecilia Society is bringing together four distinct and...
Guest violinist is ‘stunning success of the evening’ 20th March 2017 - All sections excelled in Prokofiev’s rugged Fifth Symphony, according to Herts Advertiser critic John Manning. But magnificent playing by soloist David le Page provided the evening’s stunning success in Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto While Serge Prokofiev’s...
"Dynamic Tom leads SASO into 2017 concert success" 8th January 2017 - GEOFF WARD, reviewing SASO’s 2017 New Year Concert in the Herts Advertiser, says he has never heard the orchestra play better. St Albans Symphony Orchestra gave their annual New Year concert in St Albans Cathedral...
‘Tom gets off to a flying start at symphony orchestra concert’ 21st October 2016 - Herts Advertiser critic has given warm welcome to new SASO principal conductor, Tom Hammond  – and  the ‘exquisite’ singing of soprano soloist Dima Bawab. “New conductor Tom Hammond got St Albans Symphony Orchestra’s new season...
"Orchestra take a concert bow" 30th June 2016 - Herts Advertiser critic John Manning was impressed by SASO’s summer concert, featuring Mahler’s monumental 5th Symphony. Members of St Albans Symphony Orchestra can feel justifiably feel pride at their overall level of performance at their...
‘Elgar workshop results in topnotch playing’ says critic 19th May 2016 - SASO’s performance of Elgar’s Symphony No 2 at the conclusion of its 2016 Babs Yule memorial workshop weekend was ‘impressive’ according to Herts Advertiser music critic, John Manning. Anyone hearing Elgar’s second symphony for the...
‘Cristian dazzles as SASO as conductor shows the way’ 10th March 2016 - John Manning, music critic for the Herts Advertiser, was impressed in March by rising violin start Cristian Grajner de Sa – and by SASO’s playing  under guest conductor Leon Gee “Although Cristian Grajner De Sa...
"SASO gets 2016 off to a flying start for audience" 8th January 2016 - John Manning, music critic of the Herts Advertiser, declared SASO’s 2016 New Year concert to be “a huge success” After more than three decades St Albans Symphony Orchestra’s annual New Year’s Day concert has become...
St Cecilia Society shows why Requiem still matters 5th November 2015 - Herts Advertiser critic John Manning praises the St Cecilia Festival Society’s performance of Dvorak’s rarely-heard Requiem Congratulations to all concerned in the St Albans St Cecilia Festival Society’s presentation of Dvorak’s rarely-heard Requiem. Few who heard it...
Bjorn’s swansong delights audience 2nd July 2015 - John Manning, music critic for the Herts Advertiser, found  SASO on top form for its ‘Best of Britain’ concert, providing a fitting farewell for Principal Conductor Bjorn Bantock For four seasons conductor Bjorn Bantock has...
Orchestra’s all-Scandinavian Success Story 22nd May 2015 - Geoff Ward, writing in the Herts Advertiser, suggests that SASO has “improved immeasurably under their dynamic conductor, Bjorn Bantock” St Albans Symphony Orchestra presented an all-Scandinavian programme in celebration of the 150th anniversary of the...
"Beethoven symphony raises roof" 19th March 2015 - Herts Advertiser critic John Manning found SASO’s March 7th Beethoven concert “exciting and inspirational” With members of the Hertfordshire Chorus and other local choirs as well as a team of top class soloists, the orchestra...
Oh those Russians… 8th January 2015 - Pianist Alissa Firsova and the St Albans Symphony Orchestra received further critical praise from critic John Manning for their New Year 2015 performance of Rachmaninov’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini: “Although Alissa Firsova has...
Russian violinist expands her repertoire with concerto 28th November 2014 - John Manning, music critic of the Herts Advertiser, was “dazzled” by the Korngold Violin Concerto at SASO’s autumn concert Although only 25, Russian-born violinist Adelia Myslov already has a substantial repertoire. But on Saturday she...
"…it was generally impossible to tell that it wasn’t a fully-professional orchestra…" 26th September 2014 - Critic Jim Pritchard, writing for  the ‘Seen and Heard International’ website, was bowled over by  the concert performance of Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg in Saffron Walden on September 14th – including SASO’s impressive playing.  “This...
"Rarely can I remember being so excited and…so emotionally drained" 2nd July 2014 - Herts Advertiser critic John Manning was bowled over by Alissa Firsova’s thrilling performance of Rachmaninov’s Third Piano Concerto Rarely can I remember being so excited and at the same time so emotionally drained as I...
"The whole concert was a delight…" 1st June 2014 - Geoff Ward, writing in the Herts Advertiser, awarded top marks to SASO’s ‘Orchestral Colours’ concert in May. The dynamic and enterprising conductor of the St Albans Symphony Orchestra, Bjorn Bantock, chose to showcase the various...
Grand scheme of things for Symphony Orchestra 13th March 2014 - Herts Advertiser critic John Manning was “completely dazzled” at SASO’s Mendelssohn and Strauss concert on March 8th. When it comes to doing things on a grand scale German composer Richard Strauss certainly knew how. His tone...
Movie music to see in the New Year 10th January 2014 - Music critic John Manning praises SASO’s “outstanding” New Year concert of  film music Although music from the movies may not be regarded as “classical” by some, it really follows in the long tradition of composers such as...
‘A real tour de force’ 13th June 2013 - SASO’s Festival Concert was by turns ‘powerful’ and ‘stunning’, says Herts Advertiser critic, John Manning There was something rather special about St Albans Symphony Orchestra’s performance of Gustav Holst’s popular Planets Suite on Saturday night. It...
Orchestra in Seventh Heaven 2nd May 2013 - Andrew Shepstone reviewed SASO’s ‘Beethoven’s Seventh’ concert for the Herts Advertiser. St Albans Symphony Orchestra continued their progression through the symphonies of Beethoven in their concert last night at St. Saviour’s with an energetic performance...
Orchestra’s night fever 23rd March 2013 - Herts Advertiser critic John Manning thoroughly enjoyed SASO’s Orchestral Colours concert What a night the St Albans Symphony Orchestra gave its audience on Saturday. Orchestral Colours was the name of the programme it presented at...
Orchestra Rings the Changes 15th November 2012 - November 2012 – John Manning writes in the Herts Advertiser “Although the opening work of the evening was (Wagner’s) popular Ride of the Valkyries, the real sensation was a concert presentation of Act 1 Scene...
Celebrations for Symphony Orchestra 3rd May 2012 - May 2012 – Lynn Carter reviews SASO’s 80th birthday concert for the Herts Advertiser “The concert was especially poignant as the musicians celebrated their legacy of 80 years of performances… drawing an incredible audience of...
New Years Day Concert Review 6th January 2012 -

January 2011 ~ John Manning writes in the Herts Advertiser

EVEN though Ellie Fagg has been one of the most popular young local musicians for many years her performance with St Albans Symphony Orchestra at its traditional New Year’s Day concert was her first appearance at St Albans Abbey.

Symphony orchestra’s full-scale success 10th March 2011 -

March 2011 - John Manning writes in the Herts Advertiser

If the size of the audience was anything to go by St Albans Symphony Orchestra’s concert on Saturday must have been its most successful in years. And the overall high standard of the performances ensured that those who packed into St Saviour’s Church for the evening were not disappointed.