Billingshurst Concert

OCTOBER 15th 2006

“I saw Denise Campbell’s entry on the Billingshurst Community web site last week, then a couple of posters around the village and on Friday I read the extensive cover in West Sussex County Times about this special concert to celebrate Mozart’s 250th anniversary. I had never been to a concert in the village hall and I had never heard New Harmonie perform. Last Sunday turned out to be a lovely day and I almost stayed at home to work in the garden. I am so glad that I didn’t.

I have never heard Mozart’s Gran Partita for 13 instruments but it is described as the ‘jewel in the crown of his wind music’. Beautiful melodies, rich harmony and the wonderful combination of sounds produced by instruments that you would normally not hear on their own but rather with strings and brass in a symphony orchestra. There were two oboes, two clarinets, two basset horns, two bassoons, four horns and a double bass. The sheer majesty of the sound when all thirteen were playing forte was spine tingling helped by the fine acoustic in the hall. This contrasted with the delicate, quiet passages when the players exerted wonderful control over their instruments especially in one of the slow movements (used in the film Amadeus) where Mozart’s love for Constanze was probably the inspiration. A symphonic opening, minuets and trios, beautiful adagios and a rumbustious finale – all quite superb. Lasting about 45 minutes, it is a very taxing piece for wind players. The ensemble played quite brilliantly. I didn’t want it to end and I could have sat through a repeat performance.

However this wasn’t just a concert. Before the interval, Margaret Lynn treated us to a delightful exposition of the piece illustrated by snippets played by the ensemble. It was a lovely idea to do this and Dr Lynn is clearly very knowledgeable about Mozart’s life and the structure of this Gran Partita.

The garden can wait. This was a unique opportunity to hear this rarely performed work and I am very pleased that I was there.”
Gordon Robinson (WSCT)

“This brilliant ensemble entertained us with ‘something old, something new’ ranging from snippets of the classics to selections from South Pacific and an arrangement of several Abba songs. Geoff Richardson provided an entertaining commentary between the pieces and built up a great rapport with the audience… In the second half the première of a piece by Ben Pope ‘The Wisdom of the Animals’ …four songs (from around the world) expressing a universal morality…for three wind quintets …(a choir of) over 60 inexperienced primary school children from all over Sussex ….it was a hit…an experience the children will not forget – and nor will the audience.”
Robert Woodward WSCT