“Congratulations to all concerned on such a triumphant concert in particularly trying circumstances.”

Gill O’Donnell writes in a review of last Saturday’s concert for the Craven Herald

‘In a week fraught with discussions on Brexit and future European links it was delight to be able to enjoy an evening with a decidedly continental twist to it. Under the baton of Dutch conductor, Tjeerd Barkmeijer, the Orchestra presented an evening of colourful French delights. Despite a number of upsets during the preparation for the concert the Orchestra performed exceptionally well with some exceptional solo performances and an extremely high level of competence especially in the string section. A real bonus for the audience were the wonderful introductory snippets by the conductor which highlighted features to listen out for in each piece and added to the overall enjoyment of the less familiar sections of the programme. The evening began with The Petite Suite by Debussy, a real joy with movements ranging from the lilting En Bateau through to spritely dance sequences. This was followed by the suite of incidental music from Pelleas and Melisande by Faure. The stunning flute and harp sections were particularly moving throughout this sequence. This was a perfect example of music as a form of story-telling, capturing magnificently the moods of the doomed lovers and ending with a movement suffused with sorrow portrayed powerfully by the strings. The second half of the programme featured Symphony No 2 by Saint-Saens. Although a symphony in form it is very much a very individual interpretation with a number of quirks not found in the classical format. This sense of the unexpected and fun pervaded the piece and it was clear that while it was particularly hard work it was also greatly enjoyed by the musicians who managed to give great clarity to the changing moods throughout and created a very genuine sense of drama. The evening concluded with the best known piece in the programme, Debussy’s Clair De Lune. While it is more usual to end on a piece of high drama and exuberance this more tranquil work brought the evening to a very atmospheric close and was a perfect way to conclude a concert which had been full of not only colour and drama but also a pervading dream-like sense of longing. Congratulations to all concerned on such a triumphant concert in particularly trying circumstances.’