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Amaretti Chamber Orchestra


The Amaretti Chamber Orchestra is a small string orchestra established in 2004 consisting of experienced amateurs, music teachers and professional players.

The orchestra has a varied repertoire ranging from Bach to Britten and perform in the South Manchester area, with excursions to Buxton as part of the Festival Fringe.

We were very pleased to win three Awards at the Buxton Festival Fringe in 2007, 2011 and 2014.

Concerts support many local charities and to date have raised over £30,000 for Francis House Children’s Hospice, Alzheimer’s Society, Macmillan Cancer Support, Amnesty International, St. Ann’s Hospice, Christie Hospital, Tsunami Disaster Fund, High Peak Hospicecare, Together Trust and the local branch of the NSPCC.

Buxton Fringe Review 2014:

The Amaretti orchestra are now regular visitors to the Fringe; it was great to welcome them back again. Although they are essentially a string ensemble their programme this year included works for wind and harp soloists.

The concert opened with Debussy’s Danse Sacreé et Danse Profane with the highly experienced harpist Louise Thomson. Debussy had written the piece for a chromatic harp, that is a harp with a string for every note. Louse however played a conventional harp which meant she had to make a prodigious number of pedal changes but which she managed seemingly without effort. The result was stunning.

Having secured such a fine soloist the programme went on with pieces for solo harp, Pierné’s Impromptu-Caprice Opus 9 and an exciting arrangement for harp of Gershwin’s American in Paris, demonstrating the versatility of the instrument and Louise’s mastery of it.

Then appropriately for the celebrations this year of Richard Strauss, we were entranced by his Duet Concertino for Clarinet and Bassoon Opus 147, with soloists Sarah Watts , clarinet and Laurence Perkins, bassoon. This rather neglected piece was composed in 1947 just before the Four Last Songs. It is actually a narrative piece and we were helped considerably in understanding it by a short explanation, given by Laurence, who told us the story of the princess (clarinet) frightened by a bear( bassoon) and identified the leitmotifs associated with the characters. It is a delightful work and the two soloists captured its wonderfully romantic essence.

After the interval we were treated to the Amaretti without any additional soloists. And, my word, their rich string playing sounded marvellous . The first work was a suite composed by the leader, Adrienne Spilsbury very much in the tradition of English composers such as Elgar and Finzi. Adrienne told us that some of it had been written during a train journey from Manchester to Cardiff.

The programme ended with the well-known Dives and Lazarus by Vaughan Williams. As one might expect from this composer it is actually based on an folk song, in this case an Irish one, which very much pleased their Irish conductor, Sinéad Hayes.

Another fine concert . And the eponymous Amaretti biscuits during then interval were a very nice touch.

Peter Low