Academy of St Thomas

Frank CliffSalle ChurchFrank Cliff

Salle Church

The Academy of St Thomas' concert at Salle Church is an annual event, usually with a distinguished soloist as director and performer. Despite the appalling weather, which doused the usual pre-concert picnics, the great church was full for a concert of classical and baroque music directed by the distinguished oboist, John Anderson.

As a conductor Anderson, batonless and left-handed, exudes tremendous energy and obtained committed and disciplined playing from the orchestra in Haydn's Symphony No 44 in E minor, the Trauer. It was a reading that captured all the dramatic qualities that characterise Haydn's brief Sturm und Drang period of the early 1770s, though, by contrast, the playing in the beautiful slow movement was not quite so persuasive.

As soloist, Anderson delighted his audience with performances of concertos by Vivaldi and Albinoni. He showed complete mastery over the virtuosic requirements of Vivaldi's F major concerto, RV455, as well as the different qualities needed in Albinoni's more lyrical concerto in D minor, while exercising complete control over the accompaniment.

The Suite No 1 from Handel's Water Music provided a splendid finale. Period style, yet unaccompanied by any surplus affectation, Anderson provided an imaginative reading of the score, with the band on splendid form.

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