UEA Symphony Orchestra
CHRISTOPHER SMITH Norwich Cathedral
> Norwich Cathedral
There was a hard, cold East Anglian edge to Dawn, first of the four short tone poems that make Sea Interludes from Britten's Peter Grimes.
An example of his graphic scene painting, was there in Sunday Morning and “Storm” had all the sound and fury you could ask for.
Sharon Shoa's orchestra, led by Efthymios Papatzikis, opened its autumn concert by entering the spirit of the splendidly vivid miniatures.
Enthusiasm did not pay quite such dividends in Vaughan Williams' Concerto for Tuba. Enter Michael Charles, a grand sight carrying his great, impressive instrument of gleaming brass. Deep notes, richly mellow and lovingly rounded, commanded respect. The agility was admirable too, and the range was surprising as flying fingers delicately pushed home the pistons.
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All too often, though, the orchestra hid the solo under a blanket of sound. Perhaps the acoustic of the cathedral's great nave was partly to blame, and the composer might well have created more opportunities for the soloist to shine. As it was, the most satisfying moments in this unusual work were the quietest.
The dramatics of Beethoven's Pastoral Symphony suited the orchestra, as its conductor brought out a panorama of emotions with sweeping gestures. There was some crisp violin playing. Woodwinds and horns put a lilt into the peasant scenes, while the percussion made the most of the peals of thunder.