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West Oxfordshire Winds

 

WOC's programme

"Die Fledermaus" - Strauss arr. Marks

Largo / Allegro (from Gran Partita) - Mozart arr. van der Wal

Caprice for Clarinets - C Grundman

Rumanian Folk Dances - Bartok arr. Shigeta

La Bikina - Fuentes arr. Mazzini

 

WOL's programme

Mr Blue Sky - J Lynne arr. Marks

Little Brown Jug- Trad. arr. Marks

Ombra Mai Fu (Largo) - Handel arr. Marks

Spider Pig  - Webster/Harris arr. Murtha

What A Wonderful World - Weiss arr. Marks

When The Saints - Trad. arr. Marks

 

WOW's programme

Magnificent Seven - E Bernstein arr. Cooper

Salute to Broadway  - arr. Strommen

Theme from the Godfather - N Rota arr. Longfield

Bohemian Rhapsody - F. Mercury arr. Marks

 

December 2018

Was I the only person in the audience to feel that there was a touch of the Spanish to the evening? Firstly the cool of St Leonard’s Church was welcome after the Mediterranean heat of the day, then the ladies of the West Oxfordshire Clarinets were dressed somewhat like flamenco dancers, as was the ever industrious and hardworking conductor, leader and arranger Wendy Marks. Opening with joyful melodies from “Die Fledermaus”, the full depth of sound afforded by those wonderful bass clarinets was amply demonstrated in the Mozart Largo/Allegro. Any initial nerves were forgotten as they harmonised beautifully in the “Caprice” by Grundman, followed by toe-tapping pieces with East European flavour by Bartok. Their set returned to the Spanish theme with the humorously conceived “Bikina” by Fuentes… OK he’s actually Mexican but why let geography spoil a theme?

The sheer enthusiasm of the West Oxford Learners as they tackle quite challenging pieces is what gives the audience pleasure, even though the players cover a wide range of age, experience and progress with their instruments. All popular pieces that the audience can get behind, the depth of sound carried the pieces through, with a bit of finger clicking help from the audience on Little Brown Jug. The excerpt from Handel’s Xerxes brought back memories of “Your Hundred Best Tunes” on the radio in the 1960s for me and what a James Bond chord with which to finish “Spider Pig”! “What a Wonderful World” was a reflective piece, complementing the interval wine, and the “Saints Came Marching In” to heartfelt applause for people having a go at a great pastime.

I can attest to the hard work the instrumentalists put in to these concerts – I’m married to one – and in the West Oxfordshire Winds set I was delighted to hear how everything combined to produce such an impressive sound. The theme from “The Magnificent Seven” was suitably soaring and more complex than it seems if you just hum the main tune – a great spirit-lifter. The selection of Broadway music swung memorably and segued effortlessly from song to song, The theme from “The Godfather” was atmospheric and the set concluded with Bohemian Rhapsody which was an ambitious choice but they pulled it off really well; Opera for the Masses indeed (was that a Freddie Mercury quote?) and an exciting conclusion to an entertaining and uplifting evening. Bravo!   (Nick Turner)