ESSEX SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA
Christ Church, Chelmsford
These You Have Loved selections this time, all with a story to tell.
Presumably why it was thought a good idea to have a narrator giving us generous helpings of Goethe and the Kalevala, not to mention the French verses that inspired Saint-Saens' Danse Macabre.
The evening began with the enchanting anticipation of Mozart's Magic Flute Overture, with its heroic brass and excitable strings. Then Sibelius's Pohjola's Daughter, colourfully scored, with a nicely judged diminuendo ending from the ESO's conductor Tom Hammond.
Then our first Fantasia favourite – Mussorgsky's riotous Night on a Bare Mountain, moving effectively from scream to serenity as the cock crows. The evening ended with The Sorcerer's Apprentice; a triumph for the orchestra, this – only in live performance can we appreciate how the cheeky theme is passed around the players, starting with the bassoons, and all sprinkled with the magic dust of the glockenspiel.
A moment of calm reflection among the magic and the mayhem was Gluck's Dance of the Blessed Spirits, ethereal music with beautiful flute solos.