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We are a string orchestra of about 25 players, based in Bridport, Dorset, in a beautiful region of the south coast of England and normally perform three concerts each year.

Our players come from a wide area of West Dorset, East Devon and Somerset, mostly within 25 miles of Bridport itself.

The orchestra was formed in the autumn of 1975 by the conductor Bruce Critchinson.  There are still one or two founder members playing with the orchestra, originally the New Elizabethan Players, now known as the Bridport Chamber Orchestra

We have a broad repertoire embracing many composers from baroque to modern.

Next concert:
3pm Sunday 25th March
St Swithun's Church, Bridport

40th Anniversary Concert Review
Forty years of musical delights - Bruce Upton

Since 1976 the Bridport Chamber Orchestra has entertained us and widened our musical repertoire with polish and enthusiasm.  Last Sunday marked their 40th anniversary concert.

What better way to start a celebration than with Handel's "The Arrival of the Queen of Sheba", stately and rhythmic, and the oboes sounding clearly through the string section.
Arturo Serna was both conductor and soloist in Haydn's cello concerto.  The slow movement was serene and beautifully rendered, even if the final movement, played with huge attack and gusto, rather ran away with itself.  As usual, the orchestra accompanied so sympathetically that even the quietest solo lines were never drowned.  At full volume, with brass and woodwind, it was exciting and dramatic.

In the second half, Britten's "Simple Symphony" was played with enthusiasm; the fiendishly difficult pizzicato movement a bit uneven, but the other movements sounding thoroughly professional.  Finzi's "Prelude for String Orchestra" was exquisite, a dreamy evocation of an English inter-war rural idyll.

Less familiar, but a welcome inclusion on the programme, was a symphony by JC Bach.  Toe tapping stuff, typically baroque, and mostly jolly tunes despite being written in a minor key.

Finally a piece of pagan exotica to send us out into the afternoon chill 'de Falla's "Ritual Fire Dance", and another bravura performance from Arturo.

We owe a huge debt to these competent musicians who produce such beautiful and varied programmes for us, also the sponsors, patrons, friends and loyal supporters who encourage them.  "Viva la musica", and here's to the next forty years!