Tag Archives: John Wilson

REVIEW: John Wilson Orchestra – Glasgow Royal Concert Hall

Cole Porter, Rodgers and Hammerstein and the MGM, golden era of Hollywood movie musicals have all been celebrated over the years by the wonderful John Wilson Orchestra. The lost scores recreated note by note and bar by bar by the supremely talented Wilson. This year, the spotlight turns on George and Ira Gershwin.

From a vast back-catalogue of hits, Wilson presents a broad spectrum of the composer’s work; some pieces recognised from the first few notes to some lesser-known gems, and a perfect balance of orchestral pieces and vocal numbers.

The hand-picked orchestra as always, are in the finest of form, getting the evening off to the best of starts with the overture from the 1945 biopic Rhapsody in Blue. Featuring West End leading lady Louise Dearman and John Wilson Orchestra veteran and big band star Matt Ford, there’s not a weak link anywhere. The playful chemistry between Dearman and Ford is a delight to watch and the playing and singing a joy to the ear. Vocal highlights include Dearman’s Someone to Watch Over Me and The Man I Love, and Ford’s S’Wonderful  (with the most spectacular whistling I’ve ever heard) and They Can’t Take That Away From Me.

It seems like a disservice to mention so little of the evening, but quite simply, this is as close to a perfect evening’s entertainment as you are likely to get. Sheer class.

John Wilson’s DVD celebrating the music of Frank Sinatra is on sale now.

REVIEW: John Wilson Orchestra Cole Porter in Hollywood – Glasgow Royal Concert Hall

Yes, dear readers it’s that time of year when I profess my undying love for John Wilson and his outstanding orchestra. Following on the heels of this summer’s Kiss Me Kate Prom (which incidentally will be broadcast this Christmas on BBC) and last year’s Rodgers and Hammerstein at the Movies, Wilson has turned his attention to the great Cole Porter on the 50th anniversary of the musical genius’ death.

Wilson has eschewed an evening of out and out familiar tunes, instead he has interspersed the big hitters like “I Get a Kick Out of You”, “Your the Top” and “I’ve Got You Under My Skin” with lesser known numbers such as “Love of my Life”, “The Physician” and “Please Don’t Monkey with Broadway” and provides a broad representation of Porter.

The quality of the playing is of the highest order and the sheer joy on the faces of the musicians transmits itself to the capacity audience. The programme is beautifully enhanced by regular singers Matt Ford and Anna Jane Casey who take on the jazzier numbers and newcomers to the John Wilson Orchestra: Scarlett Strallen and Richard Morrison. Strallen and Morrison are particularly stunning in the more demanding numbers and Strallen shines in the rib-tickling “The Physician”.

It remains to be seen what’s next for the John Wilson Orchestra but I personally can’t wait to see what it is.

REVIEW: John Wilson – Monday Night Live British Classics, City Halls, Glasgow

 

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“Conductor John Wilson, well known for his interpretations of American music, leads the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra in an exploration of the varied work of British composers active in the first half of the 20th Century. 

Paul Watkins, acclaimed for his performances of British Music, joins the orchestra as soloist in Gerald Finzi’s Cello Concerto, a work imbued with characteristic lyricism but with darker undertones, written shortly before the composer’s untimely death in 1956.

And the concert, broadcast live on Radio 3, concludes with 2 works: Holst’s Ballet Music from his doomed opera, The Perfect Fool; and Arnold Bax’s, The Garden of Fand, an orchestral tone poem inspired by the ancient Celtic folklore in which the composer was steeped.”

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It would be a waste of words to talk about the technicalities of the playing, the complexities of the music or the astounding talent of John Wilson. All that needs to be said is that this was a tremendously entertaining evening of beautiful music, played by phenomenally talented musicians, led by one of the world’s best conductors in a venue that boasts some of the best accoustics in the world, and a bargain at only £10 – simply perfect.

Look out for further performances at City Halls: http://www.glasgowconcerthalls.com/

More information about the Scottish Symphony Orchestra at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/orchestras/bbcsso/

John Wilson at: http://www.johnwilsonorchestra.com/

Music:

Walton – Portsmouth Point: An Overture (c.6′)

Finzi – Cello Concerto in A minor, Op.40 (c.40′)

Holst – The Perfect Fool: Ballet Music (c.12′)

Bax – The Garden of Fand: tone poem (c.17′)

REVIEW: John Wilson Orchestra – Rodgers and Hammerstein at the Movies, Glasgow Royal Concert Hall

It was a triumphant return last night to the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall for John Wilson and his spectacular orchestra. At the risk of boring everyone senseless again (I’ve waxed lyrical and at length about John Wilson on many occasions) I’ll keep it short.

Wilson’s careful and clever mix of well known and neglected, but no less beautiful tunes serves to remind us that some of the finest songs of the 20th Century were written by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein. 

The energy and virtuosity of the players and the enthusiasm and charisma of John Wilson manage to convey to each and every audience member the sheer joy and exuberance of this music. It is a privilege to be in the same room as these musicians and to hear this music. Vocalists Sir Thomas Allen, Julian Ovenden, Annalene Beechey and Kim Crisswell testify to the quality and sheer class of this outfit, all four made the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end when they sang. The sell-out house were on their feet at the end and everyone on stage deserved no less acclaim. All I ask is that they hurry back to Glasgow as soon as they can.