Academy of St Thomas

Salle Church

It was the night of the cello – that most sonorous and versatile instrument – on Saturday as Alexander Baillie, soloist and director of the Academy (leader Paul Clarke), gave an explosive performance.

A singing tone over tight orchestral rhythm was evident at the beginning of Haydn's Cello Concerto in C major followed by a soulful slow movement. An almost frenetic finale of perpetual motion was just about kept in hand by the soloist.

Tchaikovsky's Rococo Variations contained subtle woodwind decoration as the variations ranged from forceful to romantic and tested the instrument's extremes and the soloist's artistry and virtuosity.

Sandwiched between the two were languid strings and woodwind in the neat painting and wider musical brush strokes of Delius' On Hearing the First Cuckoo and Summer Night on the River.

Mozart's Symphony No 33 did not have the most well-balanced of starts but settled into its lazy atmosphere. The helter-skelter of the finale was controlled and loaded with gaiety.

The cello in encores of unaccompanied Bach set the seal on a fine evening.

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