Britten Sinfonia

CHRISTOPHER SMITH St Andrew's Hall, Norwich


> St Andrew's Hall, Norwich

Three concertos plus a symphony gave a fine opportunity for contrasting baroque and classical styles to an audience that was most enthusiastic, even if not so numerous as it might have been.

Playing on a modern grand piano, Angela Hewitt began with Bach's 2nd Keyboard Concerto. After an opening that was brisk and crisp, the first movement occasionally seemed to offer texture instead of theme before a pronounced slowing down led into a scrupulously sculptured Siciliano.

In its delicate intimacy there was a melancholy that, in its turn, was offset by the bouncing rhythms of the finale.

The most striking of the second Bach concerto – his 7th – was the Andante. To bring out the richness of the setting, the soloist was not afraid to exploit all the deep resonances of her instrument.

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Whether her interpretation challenged historical authenticity, it certainly made a great impact.

Mozart's 15th Piano Concerto brought a full team of wind instruments and a welcome extra double bass to complement the string orchestra. The atmosphere throughout was more buoyant and more extrovert.

Haydn's symphony Number 49, directed by Jacqueline Shave, the first violinist, lived up to its name: La Passione.

Seizing our attention with a slow introduction, it seemed to set out to explore emotion instead of just creating a mood. That impression was taken further by the vigour and energy of the second movement. The third, though, was something of a disappointment for lack of enough change of tone until halfway through but the concluding Presto was taken at a speed that swept away every reservation.

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