AS BEFITS a celebration, an opening item – Festival Prelude (for Organ and Orchestra), by Richard Strauss, at once made a statement. 

At times very modern in sound, at times lyrical, it nevertheless conveyed a true sense of pomp and ceremony to start proceedings. Especially when five trumpets played from the choir stalls.

A prelude to a wonderful interpretation of Elgars Cello Concerto, brilliantly played by the soloist Stefan Morris.

The dramatic opening, so familiar, but always gripping, the next soulful theme in compound triple time, in a minor key, sympathetic orchestral accompaniment giving the soloist a great platform to demonstrate his superb mastery of the cello. Wonderful music.

The final item, An Alpine Symphony, by Richard Strauss is an epic work, with 22 sections. From the quiet opening of Nacht, through the sunrise, gradually climbing the mountain, onwards to Auf dem Gipfel (summit).

This is a great amateur orchestra, with excellent principals, and this work gave every section an opportunity to demonstrate their wonderful musicianship.

Great leadership and control from conductor Michael Bell completed a thoroughly enjoyable musical experience.

Paul Green