Review - Wednesday 30th March 2011 in Shrewsbury Abbey
Shrewsbury Abbey was the setting for the latest concert given by Shrewsbury Symphony Orchestra. For this occasion the orchestra was joined by virtuoso clarinettist David Campbell in the ever-popular concerto by Mozart. This was a treat as the velvet sounds of the clarinet soared through the Abbey and the rapt audience appreciated the flawless technical control of a master craftsman. The orchestra accompanied sensitively to produce a performance of much quality - the sublime slow movement in particular provided a balanced dialogue between soloist and orchestra which was captivating.
The concert began with Haydn’s “Drumroll” Symphony, one of his London symphonies from the late 18th century. After a tentative start, the orchestra gained in confidence, with ensemble and intonation settling down to convey the differing moods of the work. Special praise to leader Paul Bramwell, whose solo violin passage in this piece was most impressive.
The climax to the evening was a performance of Dvorak’s 7th Symphony, a real challenge to any orchestra. But undaunted, this orchestra rose to the occasion with great relish, handling the changes of mood deftly, from the dark opening chords to the Slavonic lyricism of the early movements, from the dance rhythms of the Scherzo to the dramatic power of the Finale.
It is most noticeable in this orchestra that there are some fine section principals, and solo passages by clarinet and horn were a real delight. The concluding bars of this performance were breathtaking as the full force of the orchestra reverberated through the Abbey, bringing a justifiably enthusiastic audience response.
John Moore conducted with his usual flair and energy ; there is no doubt that the orchestra has benefited from his fine musicianship and uncompromising musical demands. Congratulations to all - a splendid evening!
© Bob Wysome (reproduced by kind permission)