EU Chamber Orchestra, Nicola Benedetti

MICHAEL DRAKE St Nicholas's Chapel, King's Lynn


> St Nicholas's Chapel, King's Lynn

This concert, dedicated to Ruth, Lady Fermoy (the founder of the festival), was a delight from beginning to end - not least because of soloist of the moment, last year's BBC Young Musician, Nicola Benedetti.

Mozart was still a teenager when he wrote his violin concertos and there was a youthful freshness in the empathy between composer and soloist (who is just 18) in the Concerto No 5 in A Major.

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Benedetti is an attractive young woman who exudes a poise and confidence, as she displayed in the beautifully phrased opening.

This was followed by a reflective beginning to the Adagio by the European Union Chamber Orchestra (directed with inspirational enthusiasm by concert-meister Eva Stegemar) before the soloist continued with clarity and gentility.

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Altogether this was a refined performance, with the EUCO complementing Benedetti's moods as she allied a cool exterior to musical elegance especially in the works' cadenzas.

Here is star quality from a delightful young character.

The Orchestra's 15 strings opened with Holst's St Paul's Suite, keeping an extremely taut rhythm with an abundance of tonal gradation - while Haydn's Symphony No 42 gave scope for a muted, almost reverential Andantino and well-refined episodes full of sparkle in the finale.

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