Review of Lake Macquarie Philharmonic Orchestra Concert

Conductor: Christopher Bearman OAM
Clarinet Soloist: Mark Walton OAM
Lake Macquarie Performing Arts Centre
2pm Sunday November 5 th , 2017

The Light Cavalry Overture by von Suppe
Clarinet Concerto in A major by Mozart
Pomp and Circumstance March No. 4 by Elgar
Enigma Variations by Elgar

A sell-out crowd were treated to the sight and rich sounds of the orchestra on Sunday at
Warners Bay. The violin sections were larger than I remember and the resulting sound was
warmer in addition to having a greater dynamic range. Each section of the orchestra
performed to a very high standard, showing just how this annual event is growing both in
audience demand and the richness of the experience on offer!

The Light Cavalry Overture was a bright start. This orchestral expression of horsemen riding
was played with finesse and elegance, preparing our ears for the later pieces.

Mark Walton played the Mozart Clarinet Concerto in A major with effortless accuracy and
wonderful nuances in dynamics, so bringing this work fresh life and expression.

When it came to Pomp and Circumstance March No. 4, the rich heroic sounds of Elgar were
introduced to prepare the audience for his great work in the second half of the concert. This
march has a noble melody that is full of drama and substance. It evokes thoughts of those
we know whose impact on us or our world has been significantly for the better.

The second half of the concert was devoted to the Enigma Variations of Elgar – fourteen
movements all based on the same thematical material and each dedicated to a different
person who was important to Elgar. Here the orchestra really showed how well the sections
combined to make a magical whole. Sonorous brass and sweetly agile winds combined with
real beauty in the string playing and very enthusiastic percussion.

The warm-toned and stylish playing was deftly led by Christopher Bearman’s conducting. His
attention to detail may well be one of the reasons that this orchestra seems to grow in
confidence and teamwork each year. For an orchestra that comes together but once a year,
the ‘togetherness’ that was heard on Sunday is a huge tribute to Christopher Bearman and
the dedication of the players.

Thanks must go to Lake Macquarie Music Society for their ability to present this annual
concert with special mention to Mercia Buck and all sponsors.

Review by Dr Jennifer Barnes