Strings are generally regarded as the backbone of any orchestral ensemble, and this quite superb concert by the Ten Tors Strings under conductor Simon Ible not only attested to the skill of the players, but also confirmed why the orchestra, in full rig, can make such a fine sound, too.
Holst’s St Paul’s Suite proved an ideal opener, where the acoustic not only added just the right amount of support to enhance the richness overall, but still allowed for complete clarity of the individual lines.
Two Aquarelles by Delius provided the perfect aperitif for Vaughan Williams’s captivating Oboe Concerto, where Andrew Knights combined glorious tone with neat articulation, in a performance which really conveyed the spirit of the music, and in no small measure helped by Andrew’s body language as he felt every single note.
A beautifully-paced reading of the Larghetto was the jewel in the crown from Elgar’s Serenade for Strings. Jonathan Pitkin’s Whispering, Clamouring occasionally had something meaningful to say, though it was always going to be difficult for a contemporary work like this to hold its own in such otherwise illustrious musical company.
A scintillating reading of Britten’s Simple Symphony concluded the evening, appropriately entitled English String Renaissance, and where there was also a distinct feeling of rebirth as recently-appointed Mary Eade’s dynamic leadership begins to permeate the ensemble.
PHILIP R BUTTALL
(image: Ten Tors Orchestra and Andrew Knights)