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Alina's Outstanding Orchestral Performance

Out from the ashes of the MK City Orchestra and with a great passion for a serving, inclusive, affordable, and approachable orchestra, the wonderful Nick Cutts (former City Orchestra Manager) has created the Alina Orchestra with the equally marvellous Hilary Daven Wetton back behind the baton.

As well as its excellent concerts, the orchestra is dedicated to serving the community with its outreach program which holds workshops for dementia patients, musical opportunities for young people, and small events for the community.

The Orchestra is known for its ability to take audiences on a musical journey, and this is enhanced as Hilary explains each work, using orchestra members to play snippets of the music that highlight the important melodies and show how they develop. He does this with charisma and humour, making it an engaging experience for everyone. 

The evening at The Venue in Milton Keynes was packed with a varied programme, commencing with Rossini’s Opera overture from the Italian Girl in Algiers. This was a perfect opening appetiser for the evening, whipping up excitement with overflowing catchy, cheeky tunes that came repeatedly. The brightness, thrill and vivaciousness of the music was glorious as it reached out to the audience.

This was followed by Faure's Pavane, Op. 50, (a courtly early 16th-century Spanish dance) probably familiar to many due to its frequent use in film soundtracks and TV series. It is said it was likely to have been composed whilst Faure was grieving the death of his father. This beautiful piece deserves recognition for its gliding dream-like quality that hypnotically entrances the audience.

I must confess that I have never been a particular fan of Haydn. However, his rousing, rapturous, bold and intense Symphony No. 103 in E-flat major “Drumroll” (not familiar to me), took me by surprise. Each movement has its unique quality and takes us on a ride from the striking opening drumroll, wrenching dissonances and wandering harmonics, through blazing trumpet fanfares, rhythmic conflict, and finally, explosive celebration. All in all, it was a real joy to experience.

The highlight of the evening for me was Anna Hashimoto’s outstanding performance of Mozart's Clarinet Concerto in A major, K.622, which is widely considered as one of the world's best clarinet concertos. It is a beautiful and enjoyable piece of music that demands both musical and technical skills from the soloist. However, it also allows them to showcase their interpretation and make it their own, and that's exactly what Anna did. Her performance truly mesmerized the audience.

Anna wore a captivating smile as she waited for her turn to play. Her smile reflected in her performance, relaxing the listeners. Her clarinet oozed her personality and mastery as she skillfully navigated Mozart's signature runs, and her playing was so impressive that it is no wonder she is considered one of the most exciting clarinettists in the world.

Listening to a live orchestra is a unique and distinct experience compared to listening to a music platform, CD or vinyl. It brings the music to life, turning it into an almost 3D experience. And, it is not just about listening, but also the pleasure one derives from watching each musician skilfully manipulate their instruments, how they work together and how they eagerly await the conductor's direction. It gives me goosebumps.

I can’t believe that anyone would not have an amazing evening going to an Alina Orchestra performance, it is such a well-worth and addictive experience.

The next concert performance will be their debut at the Waterside Theatre in Aylesbury on 12th April featuring Beethoven’s Fifth, always a favourite.  Go to the website to find more information on upcoming concerts and to purchase tickets.

Shahnaz Hussain (Shiny) - Arts reviewer


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