Chartres Wind Orchestra Band delights Chichester audience

Chartres musicians
Chartres musicians

REVIEW BY Marilyn Hurdwell

On Easter Saturday, in the wake of recent tragic events in Paris, the French Cathedral City of Chartres continued to celebrate its 60 years of Twinning with the English Cathedral City of Chichester. Attended by both Mayors and special guests, they gave a splendid concert of wind music in the magnificent contemporary Chapel of the Ascension University of Chichester. Maestro Rene Castelain directed his large band with impressive authority, opening with a Grand March by Konagaya. The concert continued with more familiar classical works by Tchaikovsky (Andante Cantabile), Faure (Cantique de Jean Racine), Dvorak (Largo from his New World Symphony) and ended the first half appropriately with Castelain’s own arrangement of the beautiful “Highland Cathedral” by Korb & Roever,

The second half of the concert featured more contemporary pieces, beginning with works by two Leos – Messrs Leonard Cohen and Leonard Bernstein! Cohen’s well-known Hallelujah was followed by Bernstein’s delicately descriptive Make our Garden Grow from his opera Candide. In complete contrast we were treated to two works by Astor Piazzolla: firstly a mesmerising performance of his Oblivion, beautifully played by saxophonist Gerard and horn player Mathieu, then his toe-tapping Argentinian Tangazo. The concert concluded triumphantly with Hardiman’s exhilarating Lord of the Dance, complete with encore and a standing ovation

Members of Chichester City Brass Band also attended this concert, having previously entertained its French visitors a few weeks earlier. Cultural exchanges such as these can only be beneficial in these turbulent times and they surely help to cement the friendship and mutual admiration which is engendered. We thank our French friends sincerely for their wonderful entertainment and hope that this will be the beginning of an even closer relationship between our two nations in the future

Marilyn Hurdwell