Britten Sinfonia

MICHAEL DRAKE St Andrew's Hall, Norwich

MICHAEL DRAKE

St Andrew's Hall, Norwich

Cool man. On whichever word you choose to put the emphasis there is no doubt that it applies to Nicholas Daniel - whether as soloist or conductor - and on Thursday it was particularly evidenced in a stunning performance of Richard Strauss' Oboe Concerto.

In displaying his usual extraordinary phrasing, the first movement had a constant flow and gaiety, the second a gentle lilt with all these elements in a lively finale.

Here Strauss returns to romanticism and, with a goodly measure of wistfulness also.

Later Daniel, with muted sinfonia strings took up the cor anglais in Mozart's Adagio producing impressive mellow tone and great gentility, while in completely different vein Strauss' Metamorphosen saw the string orchestra richly weave every strand seamlessly into the next in a work which gradually unfolded to an intense reading - the spell only being broken by almost premature applause.

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The last concert of the season had opened with a completely different side to the usually perceived Mozart but the Adagio and Fugue in C minor was played with precision and crispness to end the season of exciting concerts and give great anticipation for the next.

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