Review - Wed 29 Mar 2017
The latest concert by Shrewsbury Symphony Orchestra was performed before a good sized and attentive audience in the splendid setting of Shrewsbury Abbey. The evening began with Beethoven’s overture, Leonora No.3. which allowed the orchestra to finds its feet as the music moved from a darkly brooding opening section to a perky ‘allegro’ - despite a few tepid entries early in the piece, the music became more fluent and relaxed and the ending was particularly impressive with good ensemble and rhythmic drive.
In recent times this orchestra has attracted young, gifted soloists to play concertos in their concerts - Tasmin Little and Jennifer Pike are good examples. For this event, we were treated to a scintillating .performance of Richard Strauss’s 2nd Horn Concerto by another future star, Ben Goldscheider, winner of the brass category final of BBC Young Musician of the Year in 2016.
It was quite remarkable to hear the ravishing sounds he produced coming from what in effect is a long piece of contorted metal. The first movement was totally secure and delivered with impressive rhythmic accuracy while the slow movement showed the lyrical character of the instrument in a beautifully phrased performance. But it was the last movement which took our breath away as the soloist raced at breakneck speed through a mire of challenging passages which the orchestra managed to keep up with - just.
The 2nd half was devoted to the 1st symphony of Brahms, a wonderful piece of Romantic writing but very difficult for orchestral players both amateur and professional, with its complex rhythms and dramatic contrasts. This performance began shakily but it grew in confidence and control thanks largely to the musicianship of conductor John Moore, who kept the orchestra nicely in check, building towards the glorious melody of the last movement. There were many highlights in this performance, but suffice it to say that the energy and sense of purpose of the orchestra were evident once again , resulting in another enjoyable and stimulating evening’s entertainment.
© Bob Wysome (reproduced by kind permission)