Read what Alex, DECO’s artistic director has to say about the wonderful team spirit of the National Children’s Orchestras of Great Britain. Alex played in the NCO as a boy and now coaches and conducts them. The article is published in JESTA and is the cover story
A nineteenth century critic described the oboe as “…an instrument that is more than even the English can stand indoors”, so spending a Saturday night listening to an ensemble led by an oboe might not appeal to many.
How wrong can that be? The Darwin Ensemble Chamber Orchestra’s wind section displayed mastery of Mozart and Dvorak in an evening which brought smiles to many faces in the enthusiastic Lichfield Cathedral audience.Leader George Caird, directed the ensemble through Mozart’s well known serenade for wind octet. The range of colours in the piece was remarkable given the small instrumental forces with the oboes and clarinets stealing the show. But it was the arrangements of Mozart’s operatic arias that fascinated most. Caird explained their origins as “the downloads of their day”. Mozart’s tunes were so popular that wind bands would arrange them so that they could be reproduced easily and used in other settings. They were charming and fun – not mere echoes of the arias but adding new textures and even humour. Dvorak’s serenade offered majestic melodies, a dream like minuet, the sweetest of oboe sounds and a sound portrait of modern life. Live music at its best.by Christopher Arnold
Having recently heard your last concert in Lichfield Cathedral, I wanted to say how impressed I was by what you have achieved with DECO. Clearly you have many excellent players from across the region and beyond, with a wonderful resulting sound and ensemble. What you are doing is clearly very distinguished and important for Lichfield.
Graham Oppenheimer, Senior Chamber Music Tutor, Chetham’s School of Music. Artistic Director, International Chamber Music Series, De Montfort Hall, Leicester.
On Friday 21 November the Great Hall (at Lichfield Cathedral School) played host to a very enjoyable evening of Baroque classics performed by the recently formed Darwin Ensemble Chamber Orchestra (DECO), Lichfield Cathedral’s own orchestra.
Led by Alex Laing (Head of Strings at Lichfield Cathedral School) time passed quickly as the talented musicians, including Robin Crinson on oboe and Philip Scriven on harpsichord, played music from Bach, Handel and Pachelbel.
The atmosphere was delightful and the evening warmed by Alex who offered a brief and informative overview of each piece. It was a truly memorable and ‘feel-good’ occasion for all and particularly inspirational for all of the children watching. We really are very privileged to have such talented musicians on our doorstep. Please support them!
Thank you so much for all you did to make yesterday’s composition workshop so successful. Everybody really benefited, and enjoyed the occasion. … The willingness of all of you to provide such a variety of stimulating and thoughtful comments and ideas was just what was required.
Michael Harris, Organist and Master of the Music of St Giles’ Cathedral, who hosted the Schools’ Composition Workshop.
Thank you for providing our pupils with the opportunity to have their compositions worked on and performed by the Darwin Ensemble. It was such an enjoyable day for us all; the interaction between the composers and performers was positive, engaging and industrious … an exciting and rewarding experience.
Sophie Buckingham: Music teacher at George Watson’s College, Edinburgh
Both composers and the audience of Academy students were thrilled to hear their own music played so sensitively by professional musicians not much older than themselves.
Banchory Academy, 2006