Concert raises the roof of ancient Battle church

The last night of the Battle Arts and Music Festival arrested the attention of the large audience in St Mary’s church as the opening bars of Haydn’s Overture Le Speziele Haydn soared through the ancient building giving a foretaste of what was to follow.

The programme consisted of composers who had made England their home or had close ties with this country. The title of the programme was Adopted Sons As expected the Battle Festival Sinfonia did not disappoint under its conductor Bernard Robertson.

The soloist in Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto in A major, Nicholas Carpenter ,(formerly with the London Philharmonic orchestra) used a basset clarinet which he explained to the audience is an extra long instrument of four extra semi tones intended by Mozart for use in this work. The second movement allows indulgence in the beauty of the strings while the haunting melody of the clarinet floats above. The concerto finishes with Mozart in a jaunty,lively mood as the movement moves along drawing in the full grandeur of sound from the orchestra.

The J.C. Bach item, Sinfonia Concertante in A major, is rarely heard inspite of its lilting theme which at times becomes almost frivolous. Soloists Patrick Savage (violin) and Roberto Sorrentuno (cellist) added to the jollity of the piece by their clear enjoyment of participating in the joyful sound.

The concert concluded with a work by Clementi, Symphony No 2 in D Major, in which Bernard Robertson left the rostrum to play, and conduct from, the harpsichord. Technically more complex this provided an interesting contrast with what had gone before, which gave the audience a good taste of flexibility in the music chosen.

In a brief speech at the end of the performance, David Furness, who had masterminded the Festival programme, with a committee of only seven, most of whom had little or no experience of organising such a demanding event, listed the achievements it had made. From toddlers to the elderly, from entertainment by children in retirement homes to the youthful participation of teenagers in various venues, the entire compass of Battle’s scope of talents had been experienced.

The overwhelming response from all who were asked to express an opinion from the corporate to the individual was simply, “ The quality of the music was outstanding” .

Plans are already in mind for next year.