Review: English Landscapes on 24th March 2018

So, what entices you to attend a BRO concert?  Those who do not receive emails about forthcoming concerts depend on the banners that regularly appear on fences in various throughout our city. Well, it falls to the hard-working Simon who strides out in all weathers to attach those banners and remove them. Our sincere thanks.

The temporary closure of the Civic Theatre did not deter our followers, many of whom were attracted by the concert title from braving that day’s clouds and the evening rain to attend our first concerts of the year, held in the Riverway Arts Centre. 

Our conductor was Raymond Yong, no stranger to the Barrier Reef Orchestra, who returned to Townsville to steer the Orchestra who and launch the audience into song in his role as conductor and compere of a truly English programme.

William Walton’s Crown Imperial March, often said to be the world’s best classical march, was the concert opening piece. It was played with the BRO signature vitality,  opening the concert with a majestic sound.  The Crown Imperial is associated with coronations and recessional marches for Royal Weddings. Interesting to speculate if the forthcoming Royal Wedding observes English tradition or possibly raises eyebrows with The Star-Spangled Banner.

 The Walton arrangement of Bach’s Sheep May Safely Graze. This is pure Bach. Nothing further needs to be said.

Percy Grainger and Ralph Vaughan Williams, staples of the British concert repertoire, whose works were strongly influenced by English folk song, were well represented on the program. Most concert goers were familiar with the pieces and provided prolonged applause after each was given the skilful treatment by all sections of the orchestra.

No modern English orchestral concert would be complete without the Nimrod from Elgar’s Enigma Variations. This one is the 9th but it has become popular in its own right. It is a grand piece which many of us may have on a playlist. It was played in the recent film Dunkirk but has been associated with solemn occasions so can milk the emotions. Yes, on that afternoon and evening the fine orchestral performances given to us may have tested the emotions for some of us.

 Raymond and BRO wowed the audience (and the audience did a bit of wowing) with the Beatlecracker Suite, an arrangement of songs by the Beatles into movements of Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker Suite.    ”…..and she loves you, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah” ……we all gave it our best!


Stay tuned. Our participation in the AFCM concert 29th July in Queen’s Gardens will be an “awesome” Sunday afternoon followed shortly afterwards by our 18th August concert in St James Cathedral, Sacred and Secular which will feature their wonderful organ.