Review - Wednesday 3rd December 2008 in the Alington Hall, Shrewsbury School
If practice, skill and enthusiasm are the recipe for continued improvement, Shrewsbury Symphony Orchestra demonstrated the inevitable result last night in Shrewsbury School’s Alington Hall. Under the persuasive and demonstrative baton of John Moore they reached new heights in an upward curve of rewarding performances. And a more searching examination could not have been set.
Haydn’s Symphony No 94, not surprisingly subtitled the “Surprise”, was the first test and the result was sublime. I cannot remember when I heard the Minuet sequence played so beautifully. And, if this was not rich enough, the Saint-Saëns symphonic poem, Danse Macabre, sent shivers down most spines in an imaginative rendering. But there was even more to rejoice over in the second period.
Although not always a great fan of Mahler, the performance of his Symphony No 1 in D added greatly to what had gone before, judging by the reception of the audience. They were as delighted as I was and, like me, many never dreamed of hearing such a polished performance in a Shrewsbury auditorium by so many gifted county players.
I don’t usually like to go overboard with superlatives, but even established habits must give way to reason sometimes. This performance surely called for it.
© Gordon Riley (reproduced by kind permission)