On the last flaming day of June, a packed Lancaster Town Hall stood at the end to acclaim another Haffner Orchestra’s triumphant summer concert.
The star of the show was a new up-and-coming young cellist, Yuuki Bouterey-Ishido, who stepped in at the last moment when another young cellist, Abigail Hayward, became unable to play and had to be replaced. Yuuki, a New Zealander, is currently studying music in the UK, and he has had experience of playing in public.
The piece he performed with the Haffner orchestra was Schumann’s Cello Concerto, and he made a fine job of it.
Conductor Jonathan Lo enabled his strong tones not to be engulfed by the orchestra, and the song-like tunes, rhythmic accompaniment by the orchestra and the swooping scales in the last movement from the top to the bottom on the instrument, were both moving and exhilarating.
The concert started with a group of delightful, but deceptively simple pieces by Stravinsky, who had arranged them from duets he had written for his own children.
These little miniatures were an unexpected choice for a ‘starter’, but set the scene well for the Schumann concerto.
It is noticeable how many more younger people now come to these concerts.
The choice of Schubert’s ‘Great’ Symphony no 9 for the second half was a brave one.
However, a strong link to Schumann is that he found the manuscript 10 years after Schubert’s death, and he enabled its first performance.
The ‘heavenly lengths’ of Schubert’s wonderful tunes come into full play in this large work, but it is also an exuberant and happy piece throughout – though very demanding on the orchestral players.
The Haffner, with Jonny Lo in charge, were up to the challenge. It was an impressive and very enjoyable performance.
Review: Anne Kerr