EUROPEAN CHAMBER ORCHESTRA
M&G Civic Concert at the Civic Theatre
A sell-out end to the season; no surprise, since two very big names are involved, performing some of the best-loved repertoire.
As Lesley Garrett remarked: something for everyone. Though perhaps not for her crossover fans, for here she was very much in touch with her classical side – two Mozart arias, generously phrased and always dramatic, including Susannah's Act Four Deh vieni from Le Nozze di Figaro, and two from Handel, including the familiar Lascia ch'io pianga, and Let the Bright Seraphim, spectacularly performed with trumpeter Crispian Steele-Perkins, with a high-five at the end.
Steele-Perkins, who gave a brilliantly entertaining pre-concert talk, taking in King Tut, The Antiques Roadshow and a length of garden hose, also brought his own arrangement of more Handel trumpet tunes, a welcome bonus from this fine player.
The orchestra was the European Union Chamber Orchestra, directed by Hans-Peter Hofmann. They began with Elgar – a light [just 15 players] limpid Serenade for Strings, with a slow movement that was respectful, but really needed more power. No such quibbles about the Barber Adagio, in a version not too far from its quartet roots. Or about the Haydn Symphony, La Passione, which ended the evening. A most convincing performance, full of light and shade, incident and imagination.
A superb climax to this season of Civic Concerts, the twenty-fifth sponsored by M&G, who assure us that they intend to continue their invaluable support into the next quarter-century.