The Funtington Music Group members and friends had a real treat at their concert on 8th May in the University of Chichester chapel.
Crispin Ward, Senior Lecturer in Orchestral Studies at the University conducted the University Chamber Orchestra in Peter Warlock’s Capriol Suite, John Ireland’s Downland Suite and Elgar’s Serenade for Strings. The twenty string musicians had been extremely well rehearsed and this showed in the tightness of their ensemble playing and their enthusiasm, aided by Crispin’s vigorous approach to conducting, which ensured that he obtained the very best from the orchestra in these lovely renaissance dances and bucolic pieces invoking the English countryside.
They were joined by virtuoso recorder player Piers Adams for Giuseppi Sammartini’s concerto, a delightful piece which Piers brought to life with his effervescent playing on the descant recorder. This instrument, beloved of youngsters enjoying their first musical experience, has been described as the worst instrument ever invented. But not in Piers’ hands. Then we were introduced to Crispin’s own composition, Concerto for Recorder and Strings, an excellent piece provoking memories of earlier styles, where Piers played no fewer than four recorders, not all at the same time (although he has been known to). Piers is an amazing and charismatic performer, making me think of the Pied Piper of Hamelin as he dances around the stage and simulating the percussion section with his feet.