Harrogate Festival 2013 does it Sinatra’s way

The John Wilson Orchestra.
The John Wilson Orchestra.

Review by George Pyman

Harrogate International Festival, The John Wilson Orchestra, Royal Hall, Harrogate.

Over recent years we have come to expect great music from the John Wilson Orchestra and we were not to be disappointed.

Performing to a full house at the Royal Hall, we enjoyed a Finale to the Harrogate International Summer Festival that was fully worthy of the name.

John Wilson is a master of contemporary film sound tracks and authentic concert performances of classic Hollywood film musical scores – many of which John Wilson has personally been responsible for resurrecting from obscurity.

He formed his orchestra in 1994 and it now has an international reputation and has performed at the London Proms over recent years. In view of the type of music it plays it is not surprising that the brass and saxophone sections are fabulous to listen to – that’ not to belittle the rest of the performers, who are all excellent.

This evening was a Sinatrafest and part of the enthusiasm of the audience must surely have been due to the recollection of dancing and singing to Sinatra in their youth!

Standing in for Sinatra was Mathew Ford, a task that many would not envy, however he performs like the professional he is – he has a fine voice and an empathy with this type of music.

The programme was full of favourites: Lets Face the Music and Dance, I can be Happy – then a couple of UK recordings: London by Night and Just a Garden in the Rain.

We moved on to Nelson Riddle’s Come Fly with Me, Nancy with the Laughing Eyes, From this Moment On and When Somebody Loves you All the Way.

After the Interval: Night and Day, Brazil, One thing I’m Certain of, It Happened in Monterey, All my Tomorrows Belong to you.

The orchestra played the overture to High Society the Sinatra and Grace Kelly classic. Wonderful wonderful music, so many memories!

At the end the audience wouldn’t let them go =- endless clapping and foot stamping – I was a little worried about the Royal Hall withstanding such an assault!

So we had three encores which Included Chicago and New York New York.

An absolutely great concert and a worthy Finale – I defy anyone not to have enjoyed themselves, despite the somewhat sweltering atmosphere in The Royal Hall.