Ten Tors Orchestra has just had a makeover, only to rise again under the banner of Peninsula Arts Sinfonietta, although admittedly any outward signs seem more political, than musical.
The inaugural programme focused on the quintessentially English composer Gerald Finzi, who also had a passion for masters of the German and English Baroque, particularly Bach and William Boyce.
For Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No 3, conductor Simon Ible made a wise decision to bring the strings as close to the nave as possible, allowing violins and violas to play standing, which added significantly to the immediacy and excitement of the performance, under Lindsay Braga’s assured leadership.
Peninsula Arts Sinfonietta continued with a sprightly and well-disciplined performance of Boyce’s charming Symphony No 4 in F, where the added wind contribution sang through nicely, yet were never overpowering.
Elaine Cocks proved an outstanding soloist in Finzi’s Clarinet Concerto. At once immensely powerful in tone, though never overdone – equally sensitive in quieter moments, where breath control was especially impressive – unbridled virtuosity despatched with great élan – this was a quite superb performance from all concerned.
Finzi’s Romance for String Orchestra followed on seamlessly, such was Simon’s heartfelt empathy with the music, which he so sensitively conveyed to his ever-responsive players, and which just left a stylish reading of Haydn’s Trauer Symphony to round off a most enjoyable evening, and start of a new musical era.
PHILIP R BUTTALL