Midland Concert Orchestra

Town Hall, Kidderminster

THIS super concert has certainly become part of my New Year celebrations, but I was surprised at the number of empty seats - perhaps the inclement weather put people off, but they missed a treat.

After the rousing opening with the Overture to Marriage of Figaro, guest singer Judith Horton sang Non so piu cosa son, cosa faccio from the same opera then, to my delight, sang the beautiful On my lips every kiss is like wine by Franz Lehar, and she sang it superbly.

Staying with Lehar we then heard Gold and Silver Waltz, which was the first piece by this composer that I became acquainted with, and I have loved this since I was very young. I just drifted along to the music.

Mozart's Eine Kleine Nachtmusik ended the first half, very well played by the extremely talented string section, though I felt the intervals between each of the four movements were a little long, allowing the audience to applaud.

The second half of the evening brought memories of the morning's television broadcast from the Musikverein, Vienna, as it mainly belonged to the Strauss family.

The string section again was absolutely brilliant in the overture to Die Fledermaus and Pizzicato Polka, which was written by the brothers Johann and Josef.

Compere Graham Orr did a tremendous job, reading various historical January 1 entries in diaries, and giving necessary information, without being intrusive.

We heard Tales from the Vienna Woods, then it was Mrs Horton's turn again with Eamore un Ladroncello from Cosi Fan Tutte, by Mozart, and she ended with Vilja from Lehar's Merry Widow. It is a long time since I heard this sung so well. Indeed, I felt she sang even better this year, than last.

The rest of the programme comprised the traditional New Years's Day treasures - Blue Danube, Thunder and Lightning, Radetsky and Trisch Trasch, with a short reprise of the Radetsky March sending us home happy.