Category Archives: Reviews

Concertante Review

Lovely review of our concert in October, Concertante, from an audience member. It is great that they noticed that DECO is championing young performers as part of the orchestra

“Lichfield Cathedral played host to a wonderful evening of music on a cold October evening in 2015. After the previous spectacular concert which had taken place in February, this one was eagerly awaited and the chill in the air did nothing to deter the very large audience, including local MP Michael Fabricant who is always a very welcome, loyal and regular supporter of this classy, lively and vibrant orchestra based in Lichfield Cathedral. Continue reading Concertante Review

An Evening of Bach Review

DECO_EveningofBach_A5-1THE Darwin Ensemble Chamber Orchestra has always felt like a family affair.

These professional musicians play together with an affection that makes every concert feel like you’re listening to a group of friends sharing something they love.

With the orchestra slimmed down to just ten players and performing standing up, the all-Bach concert on Saturday, May 11, directed by Philip Scriven, took that experience to a new level.

And the family feeling was literal in the centrepiece of the concert as DECO’s artistic director, violinist Alex Laing, joined his uncle, oboist and former Birmingham Conservatoire principal George Caird in Bach’s double concerto BWV 1060.

It was a delightful pairing; Caird’s lyrical sound providing a lovely foil to Laing’s gutsy tone.

Framing the concerto were two nicely-contrasted solo cantatas, each performed by a Lichfield Cathedral extended musical family member.

Francis Ambrose was wonderfully expressive in “Ich Habe Genug” bringing both light and shade to the sombre (and tongue-twisting) text.

And Harriet Hunter managed to combine vocal exuberance with poise in the joyous “Wedding Cantata”.

Judging from the alert and colourful accompaniments, her colleagues found it infectious.


by Richard Bratby

Written in the Wind Review – Lichfield Mercury

DECO_WrittenintheWind“Written in the Wind” was the title of the latest Lichfield cathedral concert by the Darwin Ensemble Chamber Orchestra. This was DECO stripped back to its basic wind and brass section – just eight players in all, directed by veteran principal oboe, George Caird.

But any fear that an all-wind programme might lead to monotony was very quickly dispelled. As Caird pointed out, this was a favourite line-up of Mozart’s – and the concert opened with Mozart’s moody C minor Wind Serenade. After a slightly shaky start, this blossomed into a taut-paced, enjoyable performance.

And if three of Triebensee’s wind-band arrangements of arias from Mozart’s Don Giovanni tended to point up just how imaginative, by contrast, was Mozart’s own scoring – well, they were played with irresistible charm. After the interval came Dvorak’s wonderfully folksy Wind Serenade; adorable music, played with bright-eyed enthusiasm and real tenderness. Peter Wilson went at Dvorak’s delightfully incongruous cello part as if it was the same composer’s Cello Concerto. Simply terrific.

by Richard Bratby