Britten Sinfonia

MICHAEL DRAKE St Andrew's Hall, Norwich

MICHAEL DRAKE

> 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.

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.