A Festival of British Music by the Yorkshire Symphony Orchestra began in Leeds Town Hall on Saturday night with the first of seven concerts. The Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress (Lieut.-Colonel F. Eric Tetley and Mrs. Tetley) and many other prominent citizens were in the audience.
The chief work was Elgars’s Symphony No. 1 in A Flat. The characteristically Elgarian phrases and climaxes found the orchestra in fine shape, and Mr. Maurice Miles elicited a noble performance that seemed to promise justification for the Festival venture. While the Forte passages were thrilling, the softer melodies were full of beauty.
Harriet Cohen was the soloist in Sir Arnold Bax’s Concertante for the Left Hand, a rhythmic novelty he wrote for Miss Cohen when she had injured her right hand. The soloist dealt skilfully with the composer’s demands, in some places rather exacting, and brought out much poetry. But one may be forgiven the thought that there would be no great pleasure in watching a one-legged dancer. Howbeit, Bax has given some very acceptable work to the orchestra.
A delightful work was an Elizabethan Suite for Strings and Four Horns, arranged by Sir John Barbirolli. Mention should be made of the beautiful viola playing by Leslie Sutherland in the fourth movement.
A rousing opning to the concert was provided by Malcolm Arnold’s overture,”Beckus the Dandipratt.”
After the concert the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress held a reception in the Civic Hall, which was attended by many civic leaders.