UEA Symphony Orchestra
CHRISTOPHER SMITH Norwich Cathedral
Led by Tanya Cracknell and conducted by Sharon Choa, the UEA Symphony Orchestra opened its first concert for the academic year at Norwich Cathedral with music not only appropriate for Remembrance-tide but also picked as a particular tribute to peace campaigner Edward Said.
In an interpretation emphasising sympathy and compassion more than dramatics, the great Funeral March from Beethoven's Eroica symphony came across with poignancy.
Mozart transports us to another world. The soloists in his F major Concerto for two pianos were Benjamin Lee and Christopher Kandelin, both UEA students and both revealing genuine trained talent in their restrained style.
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The rather dry tone of their instruments was just right for a work dating from the 18th century. The composition technique was generally to alternate orchestral passages with keyboard episodes, creating contrast rather than provoking competition. Though not by any means vintage Mozart, there was grace and elegance here, a touch of sentiment and enough high spirits.
The mood changed again for Dvorak's Seventh Symphony. At its first performance in London in 1885, it must have struck listeners as very modern. After the tumultuous emotions and density of the first movement, the calmer, more transparent atmosphere of the second was especially attractive, giving the woodwind its opportunity.
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It was a nice touch to invite three students to contribute programme notes. Writing them is a minor but useful art, and many music graduates will need it in professional life.