Britten-Pears Orchestra

TONY COOPER Snape Maltings


Snape Maltings

A full-size symphony orchestra of emerging young professionals put its stamp on a memorable and exciting concert after a week's intensive tuition coached by some of the finest tutors around.

Conducted by Martyn Brabbins, Snape Skyscape, by Giorgio Battistelli -

an Aldeburgh Festival commission receiving its world premiere - used every section of the orchestra to the full, particularly the percussion section.

It was a personal expression of what the Suffolk coast meant to the composer.

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Sweeping strings, percussive rhythms and screaming brass collectively painted a large canvas of the sea in all its guises, and echoes of Sea Interludes (from Peter Grimes) were not far away.

William Walton's First Symphony, receiving a rare outing, completed a fine and contrasting programme.

A five-movement work, it seems hard to understand, after hearing this performance, the difficulty the composer had in completing the last movement.

Once again it was a work that occupied all sections of the orchestra, and they relished in it, putting in a commanding and energetic performance that was thrilling to listen to.

Central to these works, Susan Gritton (an alumna of the Britten-Pears Young Artist Programme) put in a brilliant and technically-assured performance of Richard Strauss's Four Last Songs.

A richly-textured piece, the myriad of colours of Strauss's memorable score provided a perfect match for the voice.

And, with it being Susan Gritton's, it was more than enough to ensure a polished performance.

The leader of the orchestra, Mary Elizabeth Brown, was superbly confident playing the solo line in the third song - Going to Sleep - where the passage of the soul is released into the air.

The Britten-Pears Orches-tra attracts the pick of the crop.

Look out for its next concert.