This celebration of Mozart's 250th anniversary featured two youthful works, Stravinsky and a new work by Errollyn Wallen.
Stravinsky's Apollon Musagete is a miraculous work. Its clarity and serenity makes it infinitely remote from his earlier Russian ballets.
It received an ideal performance under David Curtis, ardent and luminous, with the constantly varying articulations and ensemble groupings bringing the players' expertise in solo and chamber-music styles to the fore.
Errollyn Wallen's Photography, here receiving its world premiere, is an attractive four movement suite, brilliantly written for strings, and initially inspired by photographs appearing in the National Geographic magazine.
Each of the pieces has its own world.
The first opens with a figure of only a few notes, building into a movement of rhythmic drive, with solo violin flourishes on top of the ensemble. The second pays homage to "my hero, J.S.Bach" with a trio texture that gradually becomes overlaid with Tippettian decoration.
The third is entirely different in feeling, with a cello solo surrounded by blurred string sounds producing a sense of foreboding and erupting into a series of violent clusters. The last movement sees a return of the dance-like writing of the first movement bringing the work to a brilliant conclusion. A very enjoyable piece, which I would have liked to have been longer.
Mozart's Piano Concerto, No. 9, K.271 was nicknamed after the young lady virtuoso for whom it was composed, and with Nicola Eimer, our Jeunehomme for the evening, the work received a performance worthy of its many beauties, with a startlingly dark and operatic slow movement, and an effervescent finale, with moments of subtle illumination that raised a smile of sheer pleasure at the sophistication of the entertainment that was offered here.