Sunday, September 20, 2009


Essex Chamber Orchestra at Christ Church


ECHO was born in 1979, to give musicians from EYO performing opportunities as they turned 21.

Thirty years on, it still boasts many of those youngsters, as well as many others who live or work in the county.

For this anniversary concert, they chose three popular pieces.

First, Weber's overture to Der Freischutz, with its dramatic strings, and of course the huntsmen's horns.

John Mills, who played the Britten concerto with the orchestra last year, was back as soloist in the more familiar Mendelssohn Violin Concerto. It was a forthright, fluent performance, with a gripping cadenza in the opening Allegro. Later, a little of the detail was lost in the general enthusiasm [or was it the acoustic ?] but this was an impressive, engaging performance by any standards.

After the interval, Saint-Saens great Organ Symphony, with the might and muscle of the orchestra matched by Simon Harvey at the Christ Church Organ. A driven, urgent performance; we were concerned that there might not be enough energy left for the final pages, but Colin Touchin and his considerable forces had strength in reserve, and we were certainly not disappointed.

ECHO were led by Suzanne Loze, with Timothy Carey and Alison Eales at the piano.

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