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Review: Sinfonia of Birmingham at St Andrew's Church, Barnt Green

Soloist Rebecca Eldridge gave a wonderful account of Weber’s Bassoon Concerto: smiling music for the riveted audience.

Michael Seal

The ‘Sold Out’ note on the door was a cheery welcome at this modern church. Not an easy acoustic, but subtly tamed by conductor Michael Seal, creating good balance for the most part, very much in tune with his players throughout a fascinating programme. Something for everyone.

Inspired by the ancients, Stravinsky’s Pulcinella Suite highlights curious poignancy plus full rich harmonies sparkling with solo threads, notably some fine oboe offerings. A challenge throughout, particularly for principal double bass, rarely heard as a soloist.

Soloist Rebecca Eldridge gave a wonderful account of Weber’s Bassoon Concerto: smiling music for the riveted audience. Beautifully executed cheeky scamperings, leaping to characteristic deep velvety subterranean single notes - from a jolly march to lovely lyricism in this enormously virtuoso performance.

Fingers crossed for Prokoviev’s truly tricky Classical Symphony, the delightful, familiar music once more charming all after dedicated hours of meticulous personal preparation, creating everything from rustic ‘oompahs’ to breath-taking high notes. The steady pace was never in danger of rushing all was beautifully under control.

Conductor Michael Seal is totally involved with the end products in these performances, none more so than in Beethoven’s Symphony No 8. Full-on balance, always indicated with imaginative, clear direction.

Subtle nuances, questions and answers, offsetting hair-raising silences. Nothing over-the–top but involved dramatic communication obviously his primary intent.

All the hard work was definitely worth every second!

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