<< -- 2 -- Rex Harley ... AND A DASH OF CHUTZPAH
The second half began with Vivaldi's Concerto for recorder and strings in C, featuring the young soloist Owen Morse-Brown, already a performer of great assurance and lightness of touch. The piece is essentially a sparkling miniature, the Largo with its delightful pizzicato accompaniment so brief as to seem almost evanescent. I have never thought of the recorder as an instrument of any great character, even when well played, but Mr Morse-Owen made me think again.
And finally, we had the Fifth Brandenburg. Marc Elton and Claire Heaney, as the featured soloists, played with appropriate panache and, of course, the director had his moment of glory: that incredible burst from the harpsichord, in the first movement, which is virtually another version of the Chromatic Fantasy. And this was where his earlier injunction to us, the audience, really paid dividends. As the orchestra re-entered they were almost drowned by applause. Smiles all round: Bach was being treated in the same spontaneous way as a jazz performance.
End of concert. Loud, extended clapping. Many bows.
So, what are my reservations? And am I about to fall into that despised category, 'critic as party-pooper'? Perhaps, but I think it in no way contradictory to say that I both enjoyed the concert considerably and, at the same time, found some aspects of it problematical.
Copyright © 11 June 2003
Rex Harley, Cardiff, UK