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Review: The Solent Chamber Orchestra’s concert at St Peter’s

25/07/2019

Aptly billed as Music for a Summer’s Evening, the programme opened with the unassuming, yet pleasantly melodious Rondino for Wind Octet. The acoustic of the church lent itself perfectly to hearing and appreciating the individual contributions of each instrument in this piece scored for pairs of oboes, clarinets, horns and bassoons. Fittingly this served as an ideal introduction to what was undoubtedly the true highlight of the evening; Telemann’s Suite in A Minor for Recorder, Strings and Continuo. Local performer and teacher, Jennie Flatman, presented with real poise and kept the audience truly captivated throughout. In this work, which offers a fine balance between the highly ornamented and rhythmically ornate French style at the opening, contrasted with the more sumptuous Italian style to follow, Jennie enabled the audience to relish the real beauty and richness of her treble recorder sound. Yet when the faster, allegro section later returned equally she showed clear delight in presenting the impressively elaborate passages. Notable too in this performance was the strength of communication between the soloist, the string orchestra, conducted by Steve Tanner and the continuo part, played by Andrew Cleary.

In complete contrast the programme was completed with Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 in A. A highly exhilarating performance of this veritable tour de force, the audience was left breathless in the outer movements. Whilst the dynamically quieter passages allowed lyrical features to shine through, for me the acoustic of the venue and the sheer power of this orchestra provided too great an intensity in the louder sections. However, the versatility of this orchestra is to be applauded and the concert very well-received by an audience unstinting in its applause.

Author: Lara Jelliff
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