Royal Philharmonic Orchestra concert at G-Live Guildford, 30 November 2019

The acoustics of the, relatively new, G-Live hall helped to present the orchestra and the singer to good effect. Opening with Waughan Williams’ Overture: The Wasps one could well appreciate the ethereal shimmering sound of some 17 or more violins playing softly together, contrasted witht the smooth deep bass sounds of a similar number of chellos and double basses when in full cry. These are the sounds we spend hours straining to hear on our “Hi-Fi” equipment at home. In this hall we had the full, authentic, effect. No microphones and processed sound – a vast improvement on what we often get at London’s Albert Hall these days.

The singer, Marta Fontanals-Simmons, was introduced as an up and coming new comer with an assured future. Her mezzo soprano voice hit the high notes with a clear purity, whilst the ‘mezzo’ part of her range had a smooth richness. No evidence of a microphone. She could fill that hall with effortless ease and no apparent straining of the vocal chords. Apart from singing three songs from Elgar’s Sea Pictures she also led us all in singing Jerusalem.

The programme ended with Elgar’s Nimrod and,following Jerusalem, Pomp & Circumstance No. 4. However we were not treated to Land of Hope and Glory – our conductor commented that he would leave that to “the other orchestra, in the other place”.

Overall, a very pleasant and enjpyable evening.

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