Over the years the Malvern-based Chandos Symphony Orchestra has notched up a portfolio of tremendous triumphs, achieved over a rehearsal regime of only two weekends (including the concert one).
But on Sunday this enterprising ensemble put itself through an ambition too far, delivering an account of Mahler’s mighty Fifth Symphony which was palpably below the standards we have come to expect.
String intonation was shaky, with under-nourished tone, ensemble in the winds was not always unanimous (difficult perhaps to hear each other in the sprawling layout), and there were a couple of nervous false entries.
Conductor Michael Lloyd (who delivered an unforgettable Mahler Six with the Birmingham Philharmonic Orchestra – in the fortunate position of being able to rehearse every week – a few weeks ago) was his usual hardworking galvanising self, but this time it didn’t quite come off.
There were some pluses, however: the crucial trumpet solos of Paul Jones, Nicky Daw’s important horn obbligato (though why she had to plonked right at the front of the stage for her unenviable exposure beats me), harpist Gabriella Jones’ well-placed Adagietto, and John Gough’s extensive and illuminating programme-notes.
Lydia Griffiths was soloist in the autumnal Strauss Oboe Concerto, her line often seamless, her articulation often perky and characterful. But her interpretation will mature when she progresses beyond her student days, and when she has the opportunity to play it with a more compact orchestra.
Rating * * *