Peninsula Arts in conjunction with Suzanne Sparrow Language School mounted a delightful tribute to William Shakespeare, 400 years to the day after his death, as part of the current celebrations happening around the country, and at Plymouth University.
Ten Tors Orchestra Strings opened with an idiomatic account of Purcell’s Suite from Abdelazer which, if not totally riveting in all of its nine movements, did include a spirited rendition of the Rondeau, immortalised by Britten in his Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra.
Walton’s Two Pieces from Henry V drew some finely-shaped and delicate playing, while Arne’s Six Shakespeare Songs produced some fine singing from soprano-soloists Augusta Hebbert and Anita Watson, with some charming contributions from flute and piccolo along the way.
Bathonian Thomas Linley the younger‘s Shakespeare Ode appropriately featured the Chamber Choir from the city’s Bath Spa University, clearly well-rehearsed for their role by chorus-master Matthew Spring, and where the sopranos were in particularly good voice in performance, with baritone-soloist Alexander Robin Baker adding his rich tone to the proceedings. And even if the rarely-heard work needed some serious pruning, it was still delivered with gusto.
But the final accolades must go to leader Mary Eade, and conductor Simon Ible, for his direction on the night, and for devising this programme that celebrated the Bard’s influence so effectively – in fact, both as you might like it, and all at one fell swoop.
PHILIP R BUTTALL