Suffolk Youth give a boisterous performance

Suffolk Youth Orchestra, Snape Proms, Snape Maltings, August 3

Over the years, the annual visit to the Snape Proms by the Suffolk Youth Orchestra has seldom failed to raise the spirits, and last Tuesday’s concert, with the orchestra just returned from a tour of Holland and Belgium, and presenting a hefty programme of three orchestral showpieces was no exception.

They began with a boisterous performance of Gershwin’s Cuban Overture, negotiating the tricky rumba and habanerara rhythms of this colourful score with ease, and with star playing from the excellent percussion section.

Even though some of Dvorak’s finest music is contained in the five symphonic poems he composed after the last of his symphonies, they seldom appear in concert programmes, so it was good to hear a live performance of The Water Goblin, especially in a reading as warm and atmospheric as that of conductor Philip Shaw. By any standards, this was orchestral playing of the highest order, especially from the winds.

Equally, there was much to admire in Shaw’s reading of Rachmaninoff’’s 2nd Symphony. The opening cello motif, and the wind chords which follow promised magic, and indeed the first movement was very persuasive, though in the following scherzo Shaw’s tempi seemed a trifle cautious, and the string playing in the fiendishly difficult trio section was somewhat murky. However, the clarinet solo at the opening of the slow movement was superbly played , and , with plenty of energy left, the orchestra attacked the finale with great gusto, Shaw crafting the great final climax with the necessary elan.

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Frank Cliff

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