Dundee Courier, February 2018
Tayside Symphony Orchestra's first concert of the year in the Reid Hall, Forfar, on Saturday evening proved an undoubted success. A change of programme a few weeks ago would have been daunting for a professional orchestra to have undertaken, yet the players rose to the challenge superbly. The concert was aptly titled February in France with music from the worlds of opera, comique opera and ballet included in a varied and enjoyable programme.
The concert opened in rousing style with the overture La Belle Hélène by Offenbach, followed by the contrasting Suite from the ballet Coppèlia by Delibes featuring the national dances of Hungary, where the orchestra displayed grace and charm across the four movements. Debussy's delicate yet complex Danse was also well received by the audience.
The versatility of the orchestra was evident, as the programme moved on to feature operatic excerpts including Overture 'Zampa' by Hèrold, Carmen Suite No. 2 by Bizet and the Marche Troyenne by Berlioz, which was clearly enjoyed by the brass section in particular!
Soloists in most sections of the orchestra had the opportunity to shine and particular mention must be given to the atmospheric oboe solo which opened the Bacchanale from Samson and Delilah by Saint-Saëns, the French Horn solo which featured in excerpts from Coppèlia by Delibes, the flute solo in Pavane by Fauré and the violin solo in Carmen Suite No. 2 by Bizet.
TSO is clearly flourishing under the baton of Richard Allan, but it was encouraging to see the next generation of rising conductors being given the opportunity to work with the orchestra. Jack Christie delivered a convincing performance as he conducted the ever popular Pavane.
The orchestra's summer concert in June will celebrate the 25th Anniversary of TSO - definitely not one to be missed!