Review of Emma Johnson and the European Union Chamber Orchestra at Cambridge Corn Exchange on Wednesday 5th March 2015

EMMA JOHNSON i - Credit John Batten Photography (1)

European Union Chamber Orch EUCO landscapeCambridge alumnus, Emma Johnson joined the European Union Chamber Orchestra to present a stunning concert in the Corn Exchange last night.
Our girl ‘Emma’ (MBE) did not disappoint us:- she was magnificent and every note she played in Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto in A major, k.622 was beautifully nurtured. As a one-time clarinet player, I know only too well the vicissitudes of playing the instrument, yet, in Emma’s hands, the wide range of expression she evoked, her seemingly effortless virtuosic skill and her undoubted musicality produced an unprecedented effect.
She was very ably accompanied by the European Union Chamber Orchestra. Led by Hans-Peter Hofmann, this orchestra brought back to us that magical era when the popular classical music of the day was written for such orchestras that were more intimate than the later larger versions and were ‘conducted’ by the leading violinist. The clarity, sonorous depth and cohesion of this ensemble were particularly noticeable.
Gustav Holst’s ‘St Paul’s Suite’, Op. 29, No 2, for strings only, was played with vigour and energy, the different melodic material clearly defined. Their performance of ‘Two Elegiac Melodies’ brought out perfectly Grieg’s unique orchestration and turn of phrase. Here, the instrumentalists demonstrated impressive powers of expression as they explored the nostalgic and melancholic themes.
The final work: Mozart’s ‘Symphony No. 33 in B flat K.319 revisited Mozart’s cheerful exuberant style and the orchestra was particularly well-balanced, woodwind and horns very much a part of the music and not just colourful additions.
An encore of a movement from one of Haydn’s symphonies was testament enough that this was indeed an excellent concert, received by a very enthusiastic audience.
contacts:; twitter @clarinetemmaj
Note:the photo of Emma was taken by John Batten


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