The Mozart Orchestra, Norwich
MICHAEL DRAKE There was, of course, festival competition but even so it was disappointing that essentially popular works could only attract a relatively small audience to St Andrew's Hall.
There was, of course, festival competition but even so it was disappointing that essentially popular works could only attract a relatively small audience to St Andrew's Hall.
Perhaps that rather low-key support affected the orchestra leader (Frances Allright) after the opening pair of Stravinsky Suites for Chamber Orchestra, in which the woodwind in particular enjoyed themselves in the largely humorous pieces.
Mozart's Clarinet Concerto in A is a work which never seems to tire and Gorleston-born soloist Robert Plane immediately began to explore the range and dynamics of its inherent brightness in the opening Allegro. Conducted by John Traill, the orchestra – in particular the brass – was not as clear or sharp as it might have been here or in a free-flowing finale which framed a slow movement in which the soloist practically wrung from it a sighing melancholy.
Traill then elected for a pacey first movement to Beethoven's Pastoral Symphony No.6 and almost immediately the orchestra complied, girded up their musical loins and awakened feelings in accord with the movement's title.
Inhibitions then were largely cast aside in time for the fourth movement and a sole awakening Thunderstorm before a more happy feeling for the finale.
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Not vintage but, in the end, a stirring performance.