Compared with the biggies in the repertoire, Mozart’s violin concertos are virtual Cinderellas, but they have virtues and felicities which sympathetic soloists can dig out and find.
And Tamsin Waley-Cohen certainly did that at this delightful matinee finding in the A major Concerto K 219 a vein of fantasy which suffused the music with a character all its own. From its dreamy opening to the cartoonish barbarism of the finale’s Turkish episode, this was a reading which paid the work the compliment of being the most important offering from Mozart’s pen.
Waley-Cohen brought a bright freshness of tone and light agility of bowing, gently sprung and sweetly, suavely phrased. Both here and in the B-flat Rondo (written by Mozart to replace the original finale of his K207 Concerto) she and David Curtis’ tiny orchestra collaborated with empathy and understanding, all devoted to the welfare of this fragile music.
Two quirky symphonies topped and tailed proceedings. Boccherini’s Symphony no.11 in C major was full of surprises in tonality and in transitional passages, as well as in scoring (two melancholy cellos leaving a single contrabassist to provide the bass line), and Curtis and his players proved affectionate and alert, balancing textures wonderfully.
And finally Haydn’s Symphony no.22, the Philosopher, expertly delivered by an OOTS which now included two ruminative cors anglais, and two spectacularly extrovert horns.