Mozart is always a winner, especially a rarely heard gem such as the opener of this concert. Cassation No 2 is a charming group of contrasting small movements, originally intended for outdoor enjoyment.
The crisp, neat ensemble was directed by Nicholas Cleobury who crafted this delightful early Mozart with irresistible sparkle. A final rondo, with distinct changes of pace, was most effective although true pianissimo in the bright acoustic was sometimes lacking.
A wonderful juxtaposition of Stravinsky's mind-teasing Dances Concertantes followed. Short pieces full of quirky energy, tossed fragments, hair-raising silences and tantalising familiar ghostly borrowings.
Clear direction enabled confident solos to shine through in a taut, exciting score; notably flute, oboe and a splendid string trio movement. A crazy circus section preceded quasi-nursery rhyme snippets, leading to the final gutsy march.
An admirable feature of this orchestra's work is that of promoting new music.
The world premiere of Isolation was introduced by the composer, Joe Duddell. We found ourselves listening to a very accessible composition.
Link words were "collage" and "patchwork" although there was much mix and match of dialogue between small instrumental groups, near repetitions, some interesting layering and scampering underlying piano patterns.
Stravinsky's scoring was mirrored with great effect, particularly in the last movement. A strong resemblance to his Symphony of Psalms came from the passacaglia style of luscious string writing, ending with rich bell-like chords.
The concert closed with another Mozart favourite, his Symphony no 36, the Linz.