The Mozart Orchestra, Norwich

MICHAEL DRAKE In sporting parlance this was a concert of two halves – and well contrasting ones at that.Initially The Thieving Magpie carried rather a lot away with it, thus impeding its flighty progress.

MICHAEL DRAKE

In sporting parlance this was a concert of two halves – and well contrasting ones at that.

Initially The Thieving Magpie carried rather a lot away with it, thus impeding its flighty progress. Even allowing for the technical trials of this example of Mozart's burgeoning talent in the Symphony No 25, this lacked a real zest for life – although I suspect this was more to do with St Andrew's Hall lack of intimacy.

Interval drinks seemed to make the difference and the Orchestra (leader Frances Allright) with conductor Colin Dowdeswell as reliable as ever, produced thoughtful phrasing from wind and muted strings in Fauré's Pavane.

Graham Caskie, former pupil of the conductor, was the soloist in an effervescent Piano Concerto No 2 by Shostakovich. He set up the martial dialogue with the

re-invigorated orchestra and developed the fast-moving themes in joyous fashion.

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And what a contrast in a soothing musical conversation in the central Andante before the highly rhythmic concerto's finale sped to a conclusion full of beaty musicality.

And to send us on our way the MO realised Malcolm Arnold's English Dances in emphatic and confident manner.

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