Cardiff University Chamber Orchestra

December 3, 2018 by

I returned to Cardiff Uni for another concert from there orchestra, this time the smaller forces of their chamber orchestra. A taster for things to come was The Silken Ladder Overture by Rossini. This was written early in the Italian composer’s career and this little Venetian inspired work has some of the founding factors within his later music. The hurried crescendos, chirpy melodies and resplendent air is what makes him so special and, although we hear this in the overture, the players remind you of just how much of a journey it will take to hear his style mature.

BBC NOW frequent performer Robert Plane is always welcome as soloist. His clarinetist skills are something to behold (hearing him do Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time is extraordinary) and his Weber’s Concert for the instrument is a special feature. He glides through sequences of merriment and resplendence, making effortless responses and declarations to the orchestra, who keep up in their own melodious way. The piece really comes together in a serene slow movement: the Adagio, a still and considered middle section which shows off Plane’s breath power and patience.

In Mozartiana, we get loving treatment from Tchaikovsky, clearly a composer he could adored. Whilst this piece is basically the Russian composer orchestrating four separate work by Mozart, it does have its own stirring moments. Some errors in the woodwind were briefly shrill interjections, though the string players were partially strong in their deliver, with leader Yasmin Chu giving a wonderful solo towards the end of of the piece. These version of Mozart add little other than simply ornamental qualities. The music comes from chamber and choral music, so it could easily be hit and miss in the execution. Andrea Quinn is an absorbing conductor (more female conductors would be awesome), easy to observe as she has a great eye for details and usually keeps things in check through rigid and upbeat motions.

A please afternoon of  music, which made for calming and evocative listening.

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