Orchestra gives attention to detail in every musical mood

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Orchestra of Square Chapel: Classical and Neo-Classical

Square Chapel, Halifax

There is no mistaking conductor Lawrence Killian’s enthusiasm for the music he chooses for his orchestra.

He invited us to compare and contrast two symphonies, one classical, one neo-classical.

The classical symphony was Haydn’s Symphony No 98, the last of six “London” symphonies he composed during his first visit to the capital and premiered in 1792. The neo-classical one was Prokoviev’s Classical Symphony, a witty pastiche of the genre, composed in 1917 at the age of 26 to provoke his conservative teachers at the St Petersburg Academy, “annoy the philistines” as he put it .....and subsequently become something of a classic itself - as he hoped it would.

Both symphonies are irrepressibly joyful and full of musical invention. Haydn was 60 when he wrote his, but he could have been 26 such is its exuberance and sense of fun. Both are full of good tunes, the difference being Prokoviev’s piquant harmonies, quirky orchestration and striking economy of writing, all hallmarks of the 20th century.

Lawrence Killian was the ideal interpreter of their infectious melodies and rhythms, stylistically aware and able to extract the most attentive and expressive playing from all sections of the orchestra.The concert included the last four movements from Handel’s Water Music Suite No 1 and all Suite No 2, originally played on royal barges to entertain George I in 1717. From stately to sprightly the orchestra was responsive to every mood.

Julia Anderson