London Mozart Players, Eye Church

Inspiration for a work commissioned by Wingfield Arts from its current composer in residence came from a sailing trip off the East Anglian coast and a visit to the Sutton Hoo burial site of a sixth century king.

By MICHAEL DRAKE

Inspiration for a work commissioned by Wingfield Arts from its current composer in residence came from a sailing trip off the East Anglian coast and a visit to the Sutton Hoo burial site of a sixth century king.

Given its premiere this weekend by the London Mozart Players Chamber Orchestara at Eye Church, Lynne Plowman's The Return of King Raedwald is for bass/baritone and a dozen-strong chamber ensemble.

The introduction was full of bleak but colourful land and seascapes from which arose the commanding voice of Andrew Slater to emphatically bring to life Kevin Crossley-Holland's translations.

This is descriptive, musical drama from an imaginative composer. Despite the soloist's first-class diction, because of the orchestral ebbing and flowing a copy of the words would have made this first hearing even more illuminating.

The orchestra had opened in lively form with Mozart's Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, finishing with a dashing Rondo. The same composer's Oboe Quartet – and soloist David Theodore's reading of it – were exquisite. Rossini's little-heard Duetto for Cello and Double Bass was a virtuoso platform for Julia Desbruslais and Leon Bosch, Sir Malcolm Arnold's Quintet often had an eeriness with repeated notes from each instrument giving the whole work a feel of echoing — perhaps a portent for what was to follow.

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