Press Release: 4th April 2011

by rob
Categories: Press Releases
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Published on: May 10, 2011

Spring 2011 Concert

The Royal Forest of Dean Orchestra’s Spring Concert at the Baptist Chapel Coleford last Saturday was a great musical occasion for Forest classical music fans. Two major musicians were guests for the occasion, Simon Smith as violin soloist, and the youthful conductor Thomas Payne.

The Orchestra had fun playing the mischievous Mozart Marriage of Figaro Overture, and their enthusiasm was so infectious that the audience was inspired to applaud between movements. This is completely contrary to accepted conventions for audience behaviour, and there has been recent heated correspondence over this controversial subject. Royal Albert Hall audiences might have disapproved, but it seemed right in Coleford.

The Clock is one of Haydn’s London symphonies where baroque meets romantic, and the drawing room elegance of Georgian London was evoked in a spirited and energetic performance.

The Orchestra are gradually building a reputation as Beethoven specialists, having performed his 4th symphony and the Egmont overture at recent concerts, and their performance of his Violin Concerto was as fine and as thrilling a musical performance as can ever have been heard in the Forest.

The soloist was Simon Smith, a distinguished violinist of international reputation. Performing without a musical score, his rapport with conductor and orchestra was perfect, and his interpretation of this powerful and lyrical concerto generated prolonged applause (at the right place) from the large audience. I was horrified to see that one of the tuning pegs on Simon’s instrument had suddenly failed during his performance, but with a smile and complete assurance he silently retuned his violin and continued uninterrupted.

Simon Smith


The influence of Thomas Payne can be seen in the emergence of RFODO as a proud and important local orchestra. He works hard at the podium coaxing, encouraging, and directing the musicians, and his delight at their success was wonderful to see. Thomas has been RFODO’s guest conductor for several concerts, and he deserves enormous credit for the special night of music enjoyed at Coleford last week.

I’m almost inspired to dust off my violin grade 5 certificate of 50 years ago and join in. I imagine that their rehearsals are fun, and to be a part of music like that must be one of the great experiences of life.

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Important Dates
  • Saturday October 23, 2021, 7.30pm: Autumn Concert at St Pauls Church, Parkend
  • December 2021: Christmas 2021 Concert (details TBC)
  • Saturday April 2, 2022: Spring 2022 Concert, Newnham Church (details TBC)
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