Review: European Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra at The Church of St. Peter and St. Paul, Chatteris on 1st March 2013

Chatteris Music Society is fast establishing itself as a provider of first class international musical events. The European Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra’s concert at The Church of St. Peter and St. Paul, Chatteris on 1st March 2013, was magnificent.

This chamber orchestra of some 9 players demonstrated a genuine understanding of the music and their obvious involvement and talent brought familiar pieces alive. Led by Pawel Zuzanski (conductor, violinist and soloist) this wonderful group presented a splendid programme.

The concert opened with Vivaldi’s ‘Concerto for violin in A minor, RV 357 (from ‘La Stravaganza’)’. We were immediately captivated by the instrumentalists’ vibrant immediacy. The lively first and third movement s were well contrasted by the expressive melancholy of the second. It was rewarding to hear the traditional continuo (harpsichord and ‘cello) with further support in the bass by a single double bass and to see the orchestra led by the performing soloist.

The ‘Concerto for trumpet and orchestra n F major’ by Poncheielli  followed. Kirill Gusarov, the trumpet soloist, lit up the church with his impressive tone and many of the virtuosic flourishes were well mastered especially as the variations in the fourth movement gradually increased in their complexity.

The highlight for me was J.S.Bach’s ‘Concerto for two violins in D minor’ BWV 1043. This familiar work was given a stimulatingly fresh approach so that the composer, often associated with music of mathematical precision, came to life with passions and excitement that are rarely heard in such an erudite piece. The soloists (Pawel Zuzanski and Liya Yakupova) and the orchestra wrenched out every nuance of expression from the thrilling score. Intriguing rhythmic suspension and well considered balance between the players were particularly impressive features.

A fine performance of Corelli’s ‘Concerto Groseeop.6 no.4 in D minor began the second half of the concert. Two other major highlights followed: The moving serenity of Faure’s ‘Pavane Op 50’ and the character and energy these performers drew in Grieg’s familiar ‘Holberg Suite Op 40’ were superb.

The luscious tango trumpeter and orchestra played for the encore was positively mesmerizing.  This was indeed a wonderful concert.

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