ILKLEY Chamber Orchestra’s third concert of its inaugural season drew a large and appreciative audience to All Saints.

The bill of fare was entirely drawn from composers born in the 17th century.

Conductor John Anderson and his orchestra opened with a belated Christmas present for the audience. Arcangelo Corelli’s Concerto Grosso in G minor, opus 6, no 8 completed around 1690 is known as the Christmas Concerto and remains one of Corelli’s most popular works. Soloists drawn from the orchestra were Sally Robinson and Alison Rignall (violins) with Zoe Long (cello).

Next came Johann Sebastian Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No 5 in D which calls for a solo group comprising violin, flute and harpsichord. I first heard this piece with a huge string section, decades ago in the era of ‘big band Bach’. So Ilkley Chamber Orchestra’s crystal clear performance with just 15 strings was a revelation. The soloists were Sally Robinson, Tracey Smirthwaite (flute) and Darius Battiwalla (harpsichord).

After the interval came The Four Seasons by Antonio Vivaldi with guest soloist Andy Long. He is an associate leader of the Orchestra of Opera North. Each Season is depicted by a concerto in three movements for solo violin and string orchestra. Andy chatted about Vivaldi’s genius for creating descriptive seasonal sounds. The players duly demonstrated on their instruments, sound effects including a summer storm with hailstones, barking dogs, winter frost and even chattering teeth. Andy’s performance with the Ilkley Chamber Orchestra and conductor John Anderson communicated such energy and joi de vivre. It felt like hearing this famous work anew. Afterwards, a couple of teenage first time concertgoers told me how they had been blown away by the experience.

Ilkley Chamber Orchestra’s next concert at All Saints Church is on Saturday 27th April at 7.30pm.