This remarkable group of musicians showed their versatility in a programme of music spanning the 18th to the 21st century.
The conductor Michael Seal ensured that the encore was as new as possible by making his own orchestral arrangement of Shchedrin’s Humoreske for piano. The required permission from the composer allowing its performance was received just days before the concert – that’s really keeping the repertoire fresh! This quirky and insouciant little piece capped a second half which was filled with humour and energy.
Rameau’s orchestral suite Les Boréades includes an Air, Gavotte and Rondeau, just the sort found in similar suites by his contemporary Bach. Rameau’s work is altogether more florid, colourful and showy, as befits its origin as operatic music. There was some very nimble flute and clarinet playing.
The soloist in Prokofiev’s second violin concerto was Chloë Hanslip, diminutive in size but large in the warmth of tone projected. She commanded attention from the work’s quiet mournful opening for solo violin to its extrovert folk-dance finale.
Julian Anderson’s Alhambra Fantasy from 2000 was a real test for the players with its thunderous rhythmically driven opening giving percussion and horns a thorough work-out, while the introspective middle section found the string players in fine form.