Cello Concerto in E minor, Op.85 Vaughan Williams
A London Symphony (Symphony No.2)
Jamie Walton (cello)
Bromley Symphony Orchestra
Malcolm Smith Tribute Concert
Saturday, November 17, 2012 Langley Park Performing Arts Centre, Bromley, Kent
Reviewed by Robert Matthew-Walker
The superb new home of the Bromley Symphony Orchestra was the venue for a splendid programme of English music in tribute to Malcolm Smith, an unforgettable figure in the world of classical music who died in February 2011 at the age of 78. A long-term employee of Boosey & Hawkes, he was one of those rare figures who ‘knew everybody and was liked by everyone’. Born in Bromley, the first orchestral concert he attended, during World War Two, was by the Bromley Symphony Orchestra – of which Sir Adrian Boult and Norman Del Mar are counted among Adrian Brown’s predecessors.
The orchestra is soon to celebrate its centenary, and has seen Albert Sammons, Dennis Brain, Kathleen Ferrier and Paul Tortelier among its guest soloists. Malcolm Smith (a Bromley resident), a life-long supporter of the orchestra and also a Vice-President of the British Music Society, would have been thrilled by the programme chosen to commemorate him which opened with one of his favourite pieces, Bax’s Tintagel, a performance of notable distinction and integrity, very finely shaped and most excellently played.
Jamie Walton, a young colleague of Malcolm’s, was the soloist in an outstanding account of Elgar’s Cello Concerto, at times very moving indeed, soloist and conductor being at one in the realisation of the score. The programme concluded with a most finely-realised performance of Vaughan Williams’s A London Symphony, music close to Malcolm’s heart, played with considerable love and attention to detail – and power, when called for – Adrian Brown excelling in this great music.