Review: Sainsbury Royal Academy Soloists, Bury Festival, Apex, May 20.

Sainsbury Royal Academy Soloists, Bury Festival, Apex, May 20.

Each year the Royal Academy of Music selects its finest players to perform in an elite ensemble. Directed from the violin by the distinguished soloist Clio Gould it has a fine reputation and has been a visitor to the Bury Festval for many years. Now known as the Sainsbury Royal Academy Soloists, at their recital last Friday lunch time one marveled once again at the quality of their performance, enjoyment enhanced by the surroundings of the new Apex music centre with its superb acoustic.

As well as two stalwarts of the repertoire, Britten’s youthful Simple Symphony and the Tchaikovsky Serenade, the programme included a work specially commissioned by the Royal Academy Soloists from the young British composer Samuel Bordoli,Antoine’s Lamplight.

The title refers to a specific scene in a novel by Sartre, in which the hero Antoine Roquentin wanders the gloomy streets of a town at night. The score impresses by the descriptive power of the writing. For much of the time Bordoli uses each of the thirteen instruments in the ensemble to create dense harmonies and contrasts of texture: lower strings tremolo pianissimo

and sul ponticello contrasted with the violins high in their register. Very filmic , very effective and brilliantly executed by the Academy


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In the Britten and the Tchaikovsky the Academy played superbly, with perfect intonation and ensemble.Clio Gould conjures wonderful sounds, from magical pianissimos to warm full-bodied playing that scarcely seems possible from just thirteen players. Magical!

Frank Cliff

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