English Chamber Orchestra, Hingham

FRANK CLIFF The Prince of Wales was present for the concert dedicated to the memory of the Queen Mother.

FRANK CLIFF

One of the principal aims of the Music In Country Churches series is to help maintain the fine buildings in which they take place.

The Prince of Wales is very much an active patron and was present at St Andrew's Church for last night's concert which, at his request, was dedicated to the memory of the Queen Mother.

And a splendid event it was with the strings of the ECO directed from the violin by Rosalind Gonley on tremendous form in Grieg's Holberg Suite; no sinecure this, even though it has a place in the stalwart's string repertoire. Scintillating playing, excellent balance and splendid solos in Rigaudon.


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Arto Norus was the soloist in the less well known of Haydn's two cello concertos, C major, rediscovered some 40 years ago. This was a stylish and technically polished performance; elegant playing if somewhat reserved. Somewhat unusually, he performed unaccompanied Bach after the interval, three movements from the third suite, imaginatively realised and immaculately performed if again somewhat restrained.

A moving tribute to the Queen Mother came with the last movement of Elgar's Nursery Suite, a work of which the composer wrote that it owed its inspiration to the then Duchess of York and her two children. To end, that old warhorse Tchaikovsky's Serenade for strings, sounding fresher than one could have imagined in an electrifying performance, imaginative, full blooded and perfectly controlled. Who needs conductors!

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