Thursday, June 02, 2011

at Chelmsford Cathedral

Poulenc's eventful Organ Concerto, given a masterly performance by Andrew Millington, felt like the climax to this year's impressive Festival; the strings of the County Town's own professional orchestra [leader Suzanne Loze] were bright and alert, with eloquent lower voices, in the ominous Molto Agitato, for example.
But there was still Elgar and Tchaikowsky – a scintillating Serenade for Strings - to look forward to after the convivial interval, both played with affection and expression, and a deeply lustrous string tone, by the Chelmsford Sinfonietta under Richard Studt. Saturday's concert got under way with Grieg's much-loved Holberg Suite, with its solemn Sarabande and exuberant Rigaudon.
In the opening event, more Poulenc, his Sextet, in which Tim Carey's piano was joined by five excellent wind players. Mischievous, lyrical and acerbic by turns, it provided a refreshing contrast to the Mozart Quintet [a relaxed, conversational start to the evening] and the richly Romantic Thuille Sextet, scampering gaily to its conclusion, with just a moment's pause for rapt reflection.
Another discovery this year, was the Serbian accordion duo whose repertoire ranged from Vivaldi through Mendelssohn to Piazzolla, with some traditional and contemporary works thrown in for good measure.
This is the fourth such festival, organized and inspired by Festival Director Tim Carey. It makes for welcome red letter days in our cultural calendar, and we hope that a way can be found to ensure its survival next year and beyond.

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