Mozart, Schubert and Beethoven in Littleover,
reviewed by MIKE WHEELER
Derby Concert Orchestra has explored some adventurous repertoire in the past (I still have fond memories of a stunning Mahler 6 some years ago). But if this taut, gutsy performance of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony is anything to go by, their current focus on more familiar works is going to produce some very interesting results.
The first movement was punchy, while giving just the right amount of space to the fleeting lyrical passages, although ensemble took a few moments to settle down. The second movement was brisk and forceful, the scherzo lithe and sinewy, the finale passionately open-hearted. Balance wasn't always ideal, especially when the lower strings carried the main thematic interest. But Jonathan Trout directed a performance of incandescent conviction. I have rarely heard those reiterated C major chords at the end sound more compellingly essential to the work's overall structure.
Earlier, a buoyant performance of the overture to Mozart's The Magic Flute preceded an infectiously enjoyable account of his 4th Horn Concerto. Stephanie Jones, a post-graduate diploma student at the Royal Northern College of Music, was the impressive soloist, with her warm, singing tone, technical dexterity, and above all a sense of sheer presence.
A graceful, elegant reading of the B flat Entr'acte from Schubert's Rosamunde music made an effective interlude before the Beethoven.
There were the usual acoustic problems with the venue. In particular, from where I was sitting, the timpani sounded particularly boomy.