Violin playing at the highest level

IPSWICH Orchestral Society gave their Autumn Gala Concert - or should I say winter, given the present snow and ice conditions - at the Corn Exchange on Saturday evening.

In spite of the freeze-up the Grand Hall was nearly full, which may have been to do with the presence of one of our most popular young violin soloists, Nicola Benedetti.

She wowed the audience with her effortless virtuosity in the Violin Concerto by Beethoven - a work which lasts nearly three-quarters of an hour.

The 23-minute first movement showed her innate musicality, especially after one of the longest orchestral introductions of any concerto. Her serene tone in the slow movement was captivating, followed by the perky dance-like last movement. This was violin playing at the highest level.

The orchestra began the concert with a performance of two movements from the Karelia Suite by Sibelius. There were a few fluffed notes from the horns, who are very exposed in the first section of the Intermezzo. The well-known March was played with a verve and spirit which the brass exploited nobly.

After the interval we were treated to an impressive performance of Mahler’s First Symphony.

From the evocative sounds of nature in the first movement, through the mournful playing of the French round Fr� re Jacques in the minor key, to the explosive fury of the last movement, the orchestra were utterly convincing under the guiding hand of their regular conductor, Adam Gatehouse.

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However, the composer states in the score that the whole horn section should stand for the blazing motto theme they play near the end - the only disappointing part of this otherwise successful concert was that this did not happen.


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