Academy perfect for summer evening

Academy of St Thomas @ Salle Church

Academy of St Thomas @ Salle Church

By MICHAEL DRAKE

Picnics around the village cricket square, Pimms in the marquee and the sun setting behind one of Norfolk's most beautiful churches in the rarity of a quintessentially English summer's evening.

Add the excellent Academy directed from the leader's chair by Fionnuala Hunt and Saturday evening's fare was complete.

The orchestra's variety of string colour was soon evident in Neilsen's Little Suite for strings, with the chilling effects of the outer movements embracing a

skating waltz.

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With Miss Hunt as soloist in Mendelssohn's Concerto in D minor for Violin and Strings – unlike the “other” one, resurrected only 50 years ago – the happy combination continued and there poured forth a melodic flow from the soloist in the opening Allegro with the Academy strings adding richness and subtlety in turn in their underlay.

A meaningful central movement was followed by the artiste's and composer's youthful panache and bounce in the short finale, excitingly performed.

The wind section enlarged the ensemble for Schubert's Symphony No 5, but the chamber atmosphere was maintained by a totally integrated unit in the opening and warm sincerity in the Andante which contained an emphatic key change in the central section, followed by a particularly relaxed and lively finale. Although relatively moderate tempi were employed, this was still a well rounded and always pleasurable reading to conclude a delightful evening.

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