Concert just failed its potential

PUBLISHED: 23:55 06 May 2001 | UPDATED: 15:05 22 October 2010

Mozart Orchestra @ St Andrew's Hall

Mozart Orchestra @ St Andrew's Hall


Saturday's concert just failed to fulfil its potential, perhaps because of a rather inauspicious opening with Debussy's Petite Suite taken by guest conductor John Traill at a modest pace.

Eventually it became more positive after some questionable tuning and prepared the orchestra for the premiere of Traill's own Suite for Orchestra. Here he coaxed a range of sounds from the orchestra in separate episodes – explosive, sometimes dissonant, rhythmic and jaunty and plain grotesque with no obvious linking save the Twelfth Night inspiration. It is a graphic piece and I think with a little less percussive aggression has scope for development, possibly as incidental music to the play.

Frances Angell showed herself to be a neat soloist after the long anticipatory opening to Mozart's Piano Concerto No 20 but also displayed power when required as the movement developed an inventive cadenza. She added subtlety to the oft-repeated tune in the slow movement, though again the orchestra, still under John Traill, was not totally integrated until an exciting climax in a happier major key.

Colin Clouting's conducting “farewell” symphony – although happily he will continue to appear in the ranks – was also Haydn's last, No 104, “The London”, and here the MO exhibited a verve hitherto lacking, adding a stateliness in the slow movement before a lively finale. Extended applause was the reward for his own finale after nearly 40 years with his back to the audience.

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