Plymouth Symphony Orchestra has been giving three large-scale concerts annually for years – something that needs much time and dedication from players who give their services freely.
There’s nothing less rewarding than performing to a small audience, but this selection of familiar pieces certainly played its part in attracting a far bigger turn-out.
Having a soloist is also another plus, and here pianist Daniel Lebhardt’s totally-captivating and highly-charged performance of arguably the best loved concerto of them all – Rachmaninov’s Second – could hardly have been bettered. On just one prior get-together, there’s a tremendous amount to be done to ensure the ensemble between soloist and orchestra is as near-perfect on the night. Yet, despite the odd moment, conductor Anne Kimber maintained an essentially tight ship throughout. Yes, there were times when the piano was almost drowned out, but this is really as much to do with the acoustics as balance – and not helped by rehearsing without an audience present.
A slick performance of Sibelius’s Karelia Overture got the evening off on a high, and while there were some challenging moments in Tchaikovsky’s Fourth Symphony, this didn’t spoil the overall drama and sheer spirit of the players’ performance, especially at the close.
Dave Adams proved a popular and assured leader, and, even if there were glitches, Plymouth’s only Symphony Orchestra certainly merits our ongoing support.
PHILIP R BUTTALL
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