Britten Sinfonia

MICHAEL DRAKE St Andrew's Hall, Norwich


> St Andrew's Hall, Norwich

It is difficult to say something new about this extraordinary group of musicians but such is their standard and consistency that it all bears repeating and if I just say this was BS at its best in last night's Jarrold-sponsored concert, you will know what I mean.

Centre stage was first taken by wind instruments conducted by Nicholas Daniel in a clear-cut Octet by Stravinsky. And how nice to really hear the bassoons which are usually hidden beneath larger orchestral sounds.

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Enter Imogen Cooper, directing from the keyboard Haydn's Concerto in D.

Her actual directing was minimal as she introduced a wonderfully bright tone to the opening and followed this with a cadenza of sheer beauty. In the finale the orchestra contributed more markedly but the piano still retained the upper hand.

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There followed a relatively Mozartian rarity, a minor key piano concerto – No 24 in C minor. The soloist was able to exude a vivacious flow of musicality while the orchestral backing was in turn subtle and strong. She is a real keyboard artist. The only downside was that again there were too many empty seats. What a loss it would be if because of that, BS reconsidered schedules.

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