Rich and romantic at Ashton Hall

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LANCASTER’S Ashton Hall was happily well filled as it hosted a carefully programmed concert of romantic orchestral music from three different countries composed over a 15-year period in the late 19th century.

The Haffner Orchestra was under the baton of its regular conductor Natalia Luis-Bassa (pictured) and was led as usual by Julian Cann.

The concert began with Puccini’s well-known, passionate and finely scored Intermezzo from Act 3 of his third opera Manon Lescaut.

Once the orchestra had got into its stride it handled well the dramatic contrasts of this short but intense piece which superbly evokes episodes in the tragic love story of Manon and des Grieux. In particular, there was some rich and effective string playing.

The orchestra was fortunate to be able to welcome violinist Leland Chen as soloist in Brahms’ popular, tuneful and varied Violin Concerto in D.

See the Lancaster Guardian (04-03-11) for full story.