CBSO Youth Orchestra * * * * *
Review by Christopher Morley
There can be no higher compliment you can pay to the CBSO Youth Orchestra than that they can be listened to like an orchestra of professionals, no allowances made for youth or inexperience.
Though in fact that very inexperience comes as a bonus, the players bringing a freshness and enthusiasm to works which more hardened campaigners might find hackneyed and run-of-the-mill.
This particular orchestra has another plus point perhaps more difficult for other similar organisations to emulate: its ensemble is perfectly proportioned, with no multiplicity of instruments compromising balance and tonal quality.
The result is an integrity of performance which could easily put this amateur group into competition with other, more seasoned orchestras.
Sunday's concert from this stimulating bunch of youngsters brought the first-ever world premiere by the CBSYO, a commission from the Feeney Trust which has been so important in the parent orchestra's history: Streamlines by the exciting young composer Tansy Davies, a mini-concerto for orchestra highlighting every section along its funky, energetic progress, posing challenges of articulation and execution (not least for the continuo-like percussion section) brilliantly encompassed under Paul Daniel's understanding direction.
Daniel's conducting never patronised these students, never mother-henned them, their assiduous preparation-week equipping them to respond to the minutest gesture. So Walton's Spitfire Prelude and Fugue was gorgeously romantic in its big, Elgarian tune, cracklingly energetic in the Fugue.
Their accompaniment to the wonderfully sympathetic Tasmin Little in Korngold's Violin Concerto (one part Hollywood, one part Prokofiev, one part Walton) was alert and lively, and their Tchaikovsky Little Russian Symphony (Alison Bach a principal horn to watch), with the most chilling gong stroke I have ever heard, was spectacular.