Review of Ely Sinfonia’s Concert on Saturday April 13th in Ely Cathedral

Ely Sinfonia, an orchestra of professional and amateur musicians founded in 1999, has grown to a sizeable and effective group who gave e most enjoyable concert in Ely Cathedral on Saturday.

The programme was well chosen and included the popular ‘Hebrides Overture’ (Fingals’ Cave) by Felix Mendelssohn, ‘Horn Concerto no 1’ by Richard Strauss and ‘Symphony no 2’ by Johannes Brahms.

The opening overture by Mendelssohn was delightful. The performers captured the spirit of this moving piece. What was particularly noticeable was the highly expressive phrasing that gave Mendelssohn’s wonderful melodies emotive depth.

Nick Wolmark, French horn soloist, joined the orchestra to perform the first horn concerto by Richard Strauss. There were some wonderful moments in his performance and when the first notes of the instrument echoed in the high vaults of the Cathedral it was obvious that this was definitely the best place to choose to perform this work. Nick’s playing was beautifully sonorous and crucial notes were given strength and validity in his performance. The subtlety and smoothness he achieved in the second movement was particularly impressive. The orchestra was particularly good in this work and gave the soloist strong, effective support.

Brahms at the best of times is challenging to play but his second symphony was well worth the effort for these performers.  There were some glorious moments and the opening of the third movement was one of the most magical of the evening. The sweeping melodies of Brahms were beautifully played and there were many times when the instrumentalists were able to let us glimpse the genius of Brahms’s writing with his many interweaving melodic echoes and reminiscent strands coming together in a complex cohesive texture.

This was indeed a very pleasant evening. The next concert on Saturday 28th September 2013 730 in Ely Cathedral should not be missed.

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