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Darwin Ensemble’s Romantic Ideals

Renowned oboist George Caird

Next month Lichfield Cathedral’s resident orchestra, the Darwin Ensemble Chamber Orchestra will be offering an altogether more thoughtful evening’s entertainment than the usual Valentine’s Day blockbuster concerts. There’s unlikely to be a plastic rose in sight at Romantic Ideals on Saturday February 19th, just beautiful music, played with passion and commitment by this popular, local chamber-orchestra.

The programme – conducted by Philip Scriven – takes in a range of moods, from the shameless romance of Fauré’s Pavane to Sibelius’s Pelléas et Mélisande: incidental music for Maurice Maeterlinck’s 1892 drama of illicit love, jealousy and murder. But expect a real show-stopper in the form of Richard Strauss’s lyrical Oboe Concerto, performed by internationally-renowned musician George Caird. Not only has Caird founded a range of chamber ensembles and worked with many leading UK orchestras, he has also been an active participant in West Midlands’ music education, having just stepped down from a successful 17-year career as Principal of Birmingham Conservatoire. The piece, written in 1945, was one of Strauss’s last and finds the composer revelling in sunny mood, dreamily removed from the harsh realities of life. In Caird’s words:

“I am delighted to be performing the Richard Strauss Oboe Concerto with the remarkable Darwin Ensemble Chamber Orchestra. The beautiful atmosphere and acoustic of Lichfield Cathedral will give this late and great work a special quality which I am looking forward to exploring.”

Founded in 2009 by artistic director Alex Laing, DECO has steadily been gaining an enthusiastic following, both in the region and beyond. It has made two appearances on Classic FM, the most recent being in October when the station broadcast its Autumn concert, Unfinished Business.

Romantic Ideals: Saturday 19 February, 7.30pm, Lichfield Cathedral. Ticket Prices: £15 adults; £12 concessions (OAPs and students); £5 children (reserved numbered seats), or £12 adults; £10 concessions; £4 children (unreserved seats with a slightly obstructed view). Tickets available from: DECO, 20c The Close, Lichfield WS13 7LD / Tel: 01543 258303 /; or from Lichfield Cathedral Shop Tel: 01543 306150 /

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