Imagine (if you can) a combination of orchestral concert and pub gig with a little bit of panto thrown in for good measure.
This was the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra’s new-look Christmas concert, shared with the New Scorpion Band of five singing multi-instrumentalists who maintain or revive old Dorset traditions.
They were responsible for the panto section – actually an old-style mummer’s play about St George and the Turkish Knight – and a lively extract from Thomas Hardy’s novel Under The Greenwood Tree in which the clarinet was shamelessly condemned. But all in good sport.
The band, whose instruments ranged from banjo and cornet to trombone and whistles, also offered such musical delights as There Was a Pig, beginning with a bassoon solo bearing an uncanny resemblance to Tchaikovsky’s Pathetique symphony.
With Pete Harrison conducting the BSO effectively, the programme also ranged from a lovely strings-only setting of Peter Warlock’s carol, Bethlehem Down, to a maritime medley including a catchy Lord Nelson’s Hornpipe. No, it wasn’t all Christmas-related.
The stage was well-dressed to add colour to a concert where the playing was as vivid as the programme was varied.