Herts Advertiser critic John Manning reviews SASO’s Dvorak and Vaughan-Williams concert (St Saviour’s Church, March 10)
Two composers who loved the folk music of their homeland were Ralph Vaughan Williams and Antonin Dvorak, whose music made up the programme for St Albans Symphony Orchestra’s programme on Saturday.
Five Variants of Dives and Lazarus, Vaughan Williams’ fine work based on the English song, is scored for a string orchestra and is full of melodies and rich orchestration, which the strings of the orchestra handled well with fine solos by orchestra leader Jenny Wigram and cellist Alice Wainwright.
Following on, the wind sections of the orchestra had their moment with Dvorak’s lovely Serenade for Winds. Something of a homage to Mozart, the work is packed with music based on traditional Czech dances which can only set toes tapping.
The main work of the evening was Dvorak’s Symphony No 7. Although not as popular as his New World Symphony, this is regarded by many as the composer’s finest. Full of power the work exploits and explores the entire orchestra and they gave of their best.
While the second movement is considered the heart of the symphony, with excellently played woodwind passages, it is the light and airy third movement with its dancing motif which is particularly well known, and which was exploited to the orchestra and its conductor Tom Hammond to excellent effect.
In all the concert at St Saviour’s Church in Sandpit Lane was a thoroughly entertaining and enjoyable evening.