From the Herefored Times-
Champagne and cake in the interval turned the Hereford String Orchestra’s fiftieth anniversary concert in Shire Hall last month into a full-blown party. The orchestra’s sizeable string forces were augmented for the occasion by a full complement of brass and woodwind, and no less than three conductors. Proceedings beganwith Wagner’s majestic Mastersingers Prelude in a performance most memorable for the fearlessly Teutonic playing of the lower brass. Released from the challenge of making themselves heard in such company, the strings then came into their own in an accomplished account of Britten’s clever (and misleadingly titled) Simple Symphony, after which the orchestra’s former director, violinist Nic Fallowfield, played Dvorak’s Romance for Violin and Orchestra with an expressive eloquence that was underpinned by some elegant orchestral accompaniment under the direction of Hazel Davis.
The second half was devoted entirely to Brahms’s Symphony No 2. This ambitious undertaking was pulled off with considerable aplomb, much credit being due to the conductor Kenneth Woods’s obvious affinity for the work and his ability to convey his intentions to his willing subjects. The performance had real drive and was especially commendable for the beautifully judged timpani and some excellent solo horn playing. The string sound was fullsome and the woodwind played with forthright agility.