City of London Sinfonia

CHRISTOPHER SMITH St Andrew's Hall, Norwich (Norfolk and Norwich Festival)


St Andrew's Hall, Norwich (Norfolk and Norwich Festival)

This concert by the City of London Sinfonia left a large audience asking for more.

It was not just the programme which was admirably selected for the festival with three favourites and one particular novelty.

The other factor was the way the performers went about their task - not only with abundant skill but also with evident enjoyment.

It seemed that the leader, Nicholas Ward, was speaking for all his colleagues when he expressed his pleasure in coming to such a beautiful venue.

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A Concerto Grosso by Handel made a fine overture, giving all the sections of this band of string players an opportunity to show their form.

A Divertimento by the youthful Mozart gave them the opportunity to continue the good work. The opening was full of brilliance, not to say bravado. Then there was ample scope for emotions to develop beautifully in the slower section before the concluding Presto went away like a rocket.

There followed a contrast - two episodes from the tone poem Four Seasons of Buenos Aires, by the Argentinean composer Astor Piazzolla. Urgent and forceful, with variety galore, the music borrowed South American rhythms, with the scoring occasionally echoing the dance bands of the region. The soloist was the famous violist Tasmin Little.

She appeared for a second time to give a dazzling account of Vivaldi's ever-popular Four Seasons. Astonishingly nimble in fingerwork and bowing, she scrupulously controlled every one of the 100 changes in tempo. Her musical dialogues with the principal cellist, Joely Koos, were a special delight.

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