M&G Concert at the Civic Theatre
The Docklands Sinfonia is one of the UK's youngest orchestras: founded less than three years ago, it has players with an average age of 24.
Last Sunday they came to the Civic for the first time, bringing a very accessible programme of British music from the last century.
At the dramatic heart of the evening, Jeffery Wilson's Timpani Concerto of 1978. Virtuosic, melodic, even choreographic, it was given an animated performance by Scott Wilson and the Sinfonia, under the zestful direction of Spencer Down.
We began just upstream from the Sinfonia's Limehouse home, in the London painted by Eric Coates: Covent Garden, Westminster, and Knightsbridge, played very much as I imagine Coates the conductor would have liked it – brisk and broad-brushed.
Before the interval, Delius's romantic stroll to the pub, and after it, Elgar's Enigma Variations. A more generous acoustic would have lent a bloom to the strings, but it was good to hear the detail in, for instance, the skittering violins and the timpani, the energetic Fifth Variation, and the mighty Ninth. And the final Variation [the composer himself] was given a superbly judged closing chord.
We even had time for a very British lollipop – Fritz Spiegel's Radio Four Theme.