Tuesday, November 04, 2008


M&G Concert at the Civic Theatre


For the opening concert of the season, a popular programme, a big-name soloist and an encouraging sprinkling of young people in the near-capacity crowd.

Chloe Hanslip, child prodigy and still not long out of her teens, directed the London Mozart Players from her violin for Vivaldi's Four Seasons. Pivotal, in the centre of the semi-circle, she maintained an intimate contact with the players, painting the pictures with energy and verve. The positive opening of the Primavera, the wonderful blend of tones in the Autumn Adagio, the unusually jaunty Winter Largo, all made for a very enjoyable ride. For an encore, she joined LMP director David Juritz for the Allegro from the JS Bach Concerto for Two Violins.

Two housekeeping issues. The programme, informative as ever, had two lines of type missing, and, not for the first time, the clinking of glassware from the bar was an irritating distraction after the interval.

The concert began with two Serenades for Strings. Dvorak's – introduced with trainspotting pointers by Juritz – had an alert, conversational feel; the lively Scherzo had its tender moments too, with beautiful playing from cellist Sebastian Comberti. And to begin, the Elgar, another young man's work,
with a superb Larghetto central movement, sonorous and elegant, but also spun-silk filigree in the quieter moments.

A great start to the season, which continues in February with our very own Britten Sinfonia.

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