ESSEX CHAMBER ORCHESTRA
Viewers of the BBC's “All Together Now” will know how talented and keen our non-professional orchestras can be. The County's connoisseurs will be familiar with the work of the Essex Chamber Orchestra, established in 1979 to enable alumni of our youth orchestras to go on playing after the age of 21.
Now, its entry criteria are more liberal, but last weekend's concert saw many veterans from the early days, both in the orchestra and in the audience.
The programme was uplifting and hugely enjoyable: three popular works played with style by forces led by Suzanne Loze and conducted by Andrew Morley.
Tim Carey, a musician much in demand, was the soloist in Beethoven's Third Piano Concerto. Under Morley's alert, dynamic baton, the opening Allegretto was a cantabile conversation between piano and orchestra, with an expansive cadenza. The limpidly beautiful Largo was given an eloquent, expressive reading; after the jaunty Rondo, an Allegro which brought out the subtleties behind the catchy tune.
The concert began with Nielsen's Helios Overture, a piece which paints the progress of the sun across the Aegean sky. Starting with lower strings and horns, and achieving a wonderful brilliance at the zenith.
The final work was Dvorak's cheerful Eighth Symphony, played with energy and enthusiasm. A warm tone and positive phrasing in the opening Allegro, and after the naïve charms of the slow movement and the scherzo, a thrilling sprint finish.
photos [© ECHO] - the concerto in rehearsal and the packed Sunday evening audience.