Review: Britten Sinfonia at Norwich Theatre Royal

NNF18 - Britten Sinfonia. Photo: Chris Christodoulou

NNF18 - Britten Sinfonia. Photo: Chris Christodoulou - Credit: Chris Christodoulou

Heroic and triumphant, Beethoven's Fifth Symphony was the resounding conclusion to the concert given by the Britten Sinfonia at Norwich Theatre Royal on Sunday evening.

The performance was conducted by Thomas Ades. Setting exhilarating speeds, he shaped every detail and demanded great climaxes with compelling gestures. Despite a couple of instrumental wobbles, the players responded with a will. The result was not just dramatic; it was uplifting.

Beethoven's Fourth Symphony was also given a powerful interpretation, though a degree of relaxation, even a touch of understatement might have been appropriate.

Nicolas Hodges was the soloist in Gerald Barry's 2012 Piano Concerto, a work of considerable power for great instrumental forces. Lasting some 20 minutes, its single, insistently loud movement conveyed in percussive sound an image of conflict that could be understood as a struggle for survival. The tremendous storm episode at the end subsided, leaving an impression that all was well.

Christopher Smith

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