15th June 2023, Petersfield Festival Hall
Petersfield Orchestra concerts frequently feature outstanding young solo players, and their June 2023 concert was no exception.
Here we were dazzled by Mathilde Milwidsky’s sensational performance of Saint-Saëns’ virtuosic third violin concerto. Her full-toned sound, evident from the start, was always tempered to serve the needs of the music, as was her command of all technical difficulties in this work. She was sensitively accompanied, and conductor Robert Browning ensured a fine balance between players and soloist.
Mention should also be made of the second movement’s magical ending, where high violin harmonics duetted ethereally with solo clarinet – a particular highlight. This performance was justifiably well received by an appreciative audience.
Beethoven’s 5th symphony, which ended the concert, is so popular it is easy to forget what a remarkable work it is. The well-known opening figure had lightness that was well-maintained throughout the movement, assisted by rhythmically tight ‘off-beat chords’ and the use of hard sticks on timpani.
The second movement featured sensitive interplay between groups of players and tuning in woodwind and brass was impressive, especially considering the heat of evening. Movement three revealed fine moments of string playing, notably in the rapid quavers of the various fugal passages. The transition from the third to fourth movement was very well-judged, one of many moments in this concert revealing how well the orchestra had been prepared. The exciting fourth movement provided an exuberant and fitting ending to this concert which had opened with a rare performance of Bruckner’s Overture in G minor.