Bath Philharmonia
Type: Concert
Date: Thursday 17 June 2010

Conductor: Jason Thornton
Piano: Marina Nadiradze

Barber Adagio
Gershwin Three Preludes
Gershwin Rhapsody in Blue
Ives Unanswered Question
Copland Appalachian Spring


Tickets for the opening concert of the 2010 Festival were already sold out before the day and it proved to be a hugely entertaining evening. Bath Philharmonia under their Music Director Jason Thornton presented an imaginative and challenging all American programme.

Starting quietly with Samuel Barber’s Adagio, the programme sprang into life with the performance by Marina Nadiradze of George Gerswhin’s Three Preludes for Piano. This young international pianist from Georgia captured the spirit of the pieces brilliantly: the strong jazz feel of the first, blues lullaby of the second and highly syncopated third prelude. Her technical mastery, sense of dynamics and great feeling for Gershwin’s writing was thrilling. She returned to the platform with the orchestra to give a performance of Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue in the original jazz-orchestration arrangement. As Jason explained to the audience, there were some minor divergences: they did not have a banjo, one of the clarinets doubled up as an oboe and the double bass doubled up as a sousaphone. Nevertheless, this iconic piece which saw the fusion of classical and modern day jazz (the pop genre of its time) was given a spirited rendering. Marina played the piano part with great panache and verve, as did the clarinets, trumpets and trombones. It was clear the musicians were enjoying themselves, particularly the four violins who were providing the modern day equivalent of a pop backing group.

After the fireworks of the first half, Charles Ives The Unanswered Question was a perfect antidote to start the second half. The strings, playing pianississimo throughout with no change of tempo, brought a mystical feel to the piece whist the trumpet (played from the choir stalls) intoned the ‘Question’ of Existence answered by the woodwind (played from the west end of the church) who became more active, faster and louder as the piece progressed. For many in the audience this was the first time they had heard the piece; it certainly generated some discussion!

The concert finished with Aaron Copland’s Appalachian Spring, not the subsequent orchestral arrangement but the original version played by the pit band for the ballet premiered in 1944. The strings of the Bath Phil had a chance to shine as they gave a polished and well crafted performance of this popular work. As an encore they reprised the hymn tune Simple Gifts which forms the climax of the work. Jason had been conducting a six day schools workshop during the Festival week and he dedicated the encore to Roger Kirk of the Helen Foundation and the Shaldon Festival committee members who had organized the event and enabled the gift of music to be brought to local children including those with special needs.

Enid Hayles

Parking Map for St Peter's Church, Shaldon


St Peter’s Church, Bridge Road, Shaldon, TQ14 0DB


1. Long Stay Public Carpark ½ mile from the church, reached through the village or off the A379 coast road to Torquay, postcode TQ14 0HP – 381 spaces, “pay & display” during the day but free after 6.00pm. Allow 15 minutes for the blue walking route shown.
2. Short Stay Public Carpark, opposite the church, postcode TQ14 0BP – 48 spaces, “pay & display” subject to a short stay 4 hour limit during the day but free after 6.00pm.
3. Extra parking – limited space adjoining the recreation ground reached from Ringmore Road but with easy pedestrian access to the Church along the estuary embankment. If using this area, please park “tidily” to maximise the usable space; this area is only available for parking as a special arrangement for the Festival.


Please telephone Malcolm Watson on 01626 873492 if you need help with letting someone alight at the church and/or need seating space for a wheelchair. In addition, there are a very few parking spaces close to the church which we can reserve for those with mobility difficulties on a first come, first served, basis.