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Review: Orchestra of St John at Bromsgrove Parish Church

Maggie Cotton reviews Orchestra of St John at Bromsgrove Parish Church.

Richard Strauss’s Symphony of Winds is for 16 wind players and is ideal for challenging music making. Quaintly named The Happy Workshop every player can expect responsibility for unique strands in this complex, but very Strauss music.

We were not disappointed as with encouragement from exuberant conductor Richard Jenkinson, everyone entered into the spirit. At times the sound was massive in the church acoustic, unclear but still exciting.

There were splendid clean cut chords, cheerful hectic top woodwinds, but there could have been more controlled balance as the horn quartet threatened to overwhelm. Mood changes towards the end kept us guessing, but nevertheless thrilled with a splendid performance

Thirteen pairs of wind players were the palette for 28 year-old Mozart’s Serenade No 10 K.361, with a charming addition of perfect double bass pizzicatos delighting in trio passages.

Hard edges in the first Menuetto were a disappointment, but a jolly theme and variation movement somehow took us to the country with lovely summer sounds.

All players have exposed gems, specifically beautifully controlled oboe phrases and busily weaving bassoon. True smiling music, although more tenderness and intimacy would have charmed with initial solo passages.

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