Review: Ipswich Symphony Orchestra delivers fine, satisfying concert
- Credit: Archant
Ipswich Symphony Orchestra, Delius, Elgar, Dvorak, Ipswich Corn Exchange, November 30
Of the three composers in this concert Delius is the most elusive; in today's parlance he is more a citizen (or composer) of the world. Born in Bradford to German parents, he was educated in England but then spent most of his time abroad including Florida, Leipzig and Paris before settling in Grez-sur-Loing.
The opening work, La Calinda, is a lively dance and first appeared in Delius' orchestral suite 'Florida' in 1887, later being incorporated into his opera 'Koanga'. It was given a fresh and characterful performance, nicely balanced and with elegant, engaging percussion accompaniment.
Elgar's violin concerto was mainly written in 1909 and first performed in 1910 when the composer was at the height of his powers and popularity. It was well received but has never quite established itself in the top division, perhaps because of its considerable length and the relative absence of big, memorable tunes. It received a highly accomplished reading from both orchestra and soloist. In the very first bars we were clearly in Elgarian, Edwardian England and conductor Adam Gatehouse drew the contrasting thematic threads into a cogent exposition.
Soloist Benjamin Baker made an immediate impact on his entry and his warm tone, elegant phrasing and secure intonation never faltered. The orchestra played with poise and precision and in the slow movement particularly the performance was virtually professional.
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Dvorak's genial eighth symphony was obviously enjoyed by the players as they relished the abundance of good tunes and rhythmic invention. The cellos gave the piece a good launch and the triple forte recapitulation had real weight and projection.
The slow movement, inspired by the village bands of the composer's childhood, had some fine wind playing and the climaxes were again well balanced and controlled by the conductor. The delicious waltz was utterly engaging, completely capturing the rustic life of Bohemia in the mid-1800s. The finale had a brisk drive and a suitably rousing conclusion. There was an occasional infelicity and a few more violins might have buttressed the string sound but once again the Ipswich Symphony Orchestra and Adam Gatehouse delivered a fine and satisfying concert.
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