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Review of NMPAT Orchestra Spectacular 2016 at Royal & Derngate (Derngate), Northampton

I first saw the Northamptonshire Music and Performing Arts Trust (NMPAT) on my first Theatreversary last year and being also my first live orchestra music concert it had quite a profound effect upon me. Now several concerts under my belt it is true that the initial impact has gone, however without doubt there is still quite a thrill from seeing a full orchestra in action. Perhaps even more so, seeing three young groups in development such as in these shows.

Once again the format under the guidance of host Peter Smalley, took us through the three burgeoning orchestras. First the Junior Orchestra, followed by the Training and then finally after the interval the full County Youth Orchestra. Again they took us and the full audience through a collection of familiar and not so familiar tunes, this time based around the loose theme of travelling around the world.

First up was The Children Of The Regiment by Julius Fucik and it was a rousing way to begin the evening. The Junior orchestra are of course the early years of development, however once again it is startling to see such professionalism and skill from ones so young. An image that will remain with me from the evening was the young lady wrestling with her double bass but playing with such skill. Comment was made at the interval that she could happily have lived inside it, such was the size difference. Quite amazing, as they all are.

The Training Orchestra moves the bar up a notch and performed the four movements of dances from the Le Cid Ballet by Massenet. The applause between movements shocked my new found theatre form, but was very well deserved. As it was after the startling performance of the Masquerade Suite by Khachaturian, a tune that all will be familiar with after hearing. The first half then closed to a spectacular collection of tunes from Les Miserables. All the tunes you would know including the best Master Of The House and At The End Of The Day were included. It was the perfect end to the first half.

After the interval the rest of the evening was in the hands of the County Youth Orchestra, a quite incredibly talented group of people. They were also joined by the prodigious talent of James Flannery on the Viola in the performance of Romance for Viola and Orchestra from Max Bruch. This was one of many performed on the evening which were admittedly quite serious and unfamiliar, and this was a great break from the 2015 spectacular. I have to be honest that I much preferred the line-up and music featured in the 2015 concert as the tunes were more upbeat and familiar on the ear and for an evening such as this, I personally feel more suited.

Having said that we finished on two incredible pieces and one much more suited to just an evening of popular music. However before that we had Igor Stravinsky's quite dazzling and pounding Sacrificial Dance from The Rite of Spring. This was truly amazing in its boldness and the performance of it was truly something else. Finally we ended on an all-time modern classic as the show finished with John Williams Adventures on Earth from E.T. The Extra Terrestrial.

Again a truly magical evening, slightly missing the joy of some of the tunes from the previous years show. However never short of thoroughly entertaining and one that I hope will remain close to my Theatreversary for many years to come.

Performance reviewed: Sunday 6th March, 2016 at the Royal & Derngate (Derngate), Northampton.

An Orchestra Spectacular was part of NMPAT's A Spring Festival Of Music. For more details see: 
https://www.facebook.com/NMPAT

A Wind Band Spectacular is on Sunday 13th March, 2016 at 6:00pm, details can be found here: http://www.royalandderngate.co.uk/whatson/2016-2017/Derngate/NMPATwbs2016/?view=Standard

Details of Royal & Derngate can be found by visiting their website at http://www.royalandderngate.co.uk/

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