Academy of St Thomas, Norwich

CHRISTOPHER SMITH Would it be too much of a good thing? That was the question on everybody's mind at the start.

CHRISTOPHER SMITH

Would it be too much of a good thing? That was the question on everybody's mind at the start. Mozart is always a favourite, of course. But his three last symphonies one after the other and nothing else? Was this really good programming?

“Yes” was the answer, definitely as well as triumphantly. The basis of the success was naturally the boundless inventiveness characteristic of the works that Mozart composed in the summer of 1788. There was variety aplenty, between each movement as well as between each symphony, and the “Jupiter” came across as a richly satisfying conclusion to a concert of grace and feeling, of emotion and drama.

Led by Paul Clarke, the Academy of St Thomas was conducted by Christopher Adey. Not using his usual slim, short baton, he preferred to conduct with his hands. He seemed to mould the phrases with his sensitive fingers, and his body language, without exaggerated gestures or romantic posturing, expressed the widest range of responses.


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Care over balance allowed every instrument its opportunity to contribute nuance and colour to the ensemble. The percussion announced its presence early, bassoons added their hollow timbre, and trumpets upped the stakes at the right time while the strings were tireless throughout an evening that demanded much of them.

t The Academy of St Thomas were performing at St Andrew's Hall.

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