There was a sparkling concert at the Abbey in Dorchester-on-Thames on 8th September.
Sir James and Lady Jeanne Galway joined the Orchestra of St John’s in a programme of J.S. Bach in all his moods – sparkling Bach, contemplative Bach, dancing Bach, lyrical Bach and even Rocking Bach where Sir James & Lady Jeanne were joined by a superb violinist, Martin Burgess who allowed full rein to their verve and virtuosity with the lightest of touch. It was such an uplifting experience.
A soprano, Hannah Davey, joined them for Bach Arias for soprano with flute obbligato, her voice soaring in counterpoint to the golden flutes of James Galway and his wife.
The final piece was Orchestral Suite 2 in B Minor, full of light and shade, thanks to the sensitive skill of the conductor. The conclusion of this piece is the well-known Badinerie to which the whole orchestra stepped up a gear. The harpsichordist was almost off his seat with the joy of it. This was used as an encore – sans conductor! The whole beautiful evening culminated in Sir James irresistible rendition of Danny Boy which he likened to a prayer. There was hardly a dry eye in the house.
The accompanying Orchestra of St. John’s is one of classical music’s best kept secret. It has a 45 year track record and is rated by professional musicians as amongst the very best in the world. The founder and conductor, John Lubbock, and Sir James Galway are old friends, performing regularly together. The orchestra was conceived by the founder while he was studying at the London Academy of Music. He wanted an orchestra with a real community focus, which over the last ten years has donated its talents to help and inspire over 30,000 autistic children. It has already performed 50 free concerts in over 60 specialist schools where the magic of the music has never failed to cast its spell upon the disabled children whatever their degree of autism. The Orchestra of St John’s deserves its reputation and to be much better known and applauded.