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Review: Dvorak and Brahms, Eroica Camerata at St Nicols' Church, Kings Norton

Maggie Cotton reviews Dvorak and Brahms, Eroica Camerata at St Nicols' Church in Kings Norton

A golden rule was being broken prior to the performance as Jacob Törmä was desperately trying out awkward corners of the Dvorak Violin Concerto as the audience was entering the church. It is acceptable for woodwind reeds to be tweaked quietly – but don’t give the game away if you are the soloist.

Dear Dvorak certainly tests any violinist with his imaginative and technically challenging concerto, ranging from Czech dances to tender sonorities.

Harmonics and double stoppings were somewhat erratic as panic set in when technical difficulties became apparent.

Conductor Peter Marks valiantly addressed the problem of balance in this resonant acoustic, but tempo changes were occasionally problematical. Lovely horn calls, plus a delightful woodwind team added to well-practised strings throughout however. Perhaps the soloist should aim for a better known concerto in which he can relax, thus letting his personality shine through.

Tributes to Beethoven and Schumann heralded Brahm’s Symphony No 3.

A passionate performance full of rich sonorities, but more care was needed with single chords.

Warm, heart-stopping woodwind began the slow movement, evidence of much tender loving care and committed hard work.

Cellos to the fore heralded the last movement with much evidence of all participants enjoying themselves.

A treat for all concerned.

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