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Which Concerto?

A concert by the European Union Chamber Orchestra,
reviewed by MIKE WHEELER


The European Union Chamber Orchestra is a twenty-strong band that plays with engaging freshness and spirit. They play standing, too, with resulting benefits to the projection of tone.

Haydn's Symphony No 22 began the evening [Assembly Rooms, Derby, UK, 20 February 2007], with a real spring in its step in the first movement, which can too easily be made just to plod, and plenty of zip and sparkle in the quick movements.

Tchaikovsky's little-known Elegy was given a reading which captured the music's pathos without over-burdening it with sentimentality. The hushed concentration of the playing at the end was genuinely compelling.

After a deeply-felt, well-paced account of Barber's Adagio, the concert ended with Dvorák's Serenade, Op 22, swift but not hurried in the opening movement, and with a nice touch of wistfulness in the Waltz. I question the orchestra's pulling around of the tempo in the third and fourth movements, but generally this was a delightful performance.

I leave to the end the Mozart violin concerto that ended Part 1, in which Nicola Benedetti, neat, poised and stylish in the solo part, brought a real chamber music-like closeness to her interaction with the orchestra. But which concerto? No 5 was advertised, No 3 was what we actually heard. Apparently no-one from the orchestra bothered to inform the venue of the change, so that they could at least make an announcement. What a pity to spoil an otherwise enjoyable evening over such a deplorable lapse of professionalism.

Copyright © 28 February 2007 Mike Wheeler, Derby UK


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