Brighton Philharmonic, at The Dome, Sunday 1 December.
A return to more familiar musical territory yesterday after the boldness of the opening concert was appreciated by the audience, writes Phil Dennett.
In Haydn’s Symphony number 49, conductor Natalie Murray-Beale made sure in the opening movement that its often reflective mood never became morose.
The Brighton Philharmonic strings showed a delightful lightness of touch amidst the energy of the second movement and were equally nimble on their feet for the menuetto.
Fire and spirit
A hint of fire and spirit propelled the concluding presto movement.
Throughout the concert Murray-Beale showed a graceful demeanour in keeping with the programme, never resorting to showy histrionics.
The adagio to Five Variants of Dives and Lazarus was sumptuous without being over-sweet and the orchestra captured the folky soul of the pieces, with some fine harp playing.
Force of nature
Another Vaughan Williams piece, the treasured The Lark Ascending, did exactly what it said on the tin, with soloist Thomas Gould sounding like a force of nature as he took the audience on a serene flight of fancy, helped by some marvellous decoration from strings, woodwinds and horns.
The inclusion of Mozart’s delightful Eine Kleine Nachtmusik was apt, given that he and Haydn were friends and Haydn modestly considered Mozart a superior composer. The ever-popular piece was all it should be, light, charming and elegant with a touch of vitality and the audience loved it.
The innovations of Haydn’s Symphony Number 45 were testing for the orchestra, especially the allegro assai. But they conjured the spirit and tenderness of this piece admirably, using soft footfalls of strings and oboe echoes to bring out the beauty of the adagio.
The finale was a masterpiece of humour, with the orchestra gradually leaving the stage to the amusement of the crowd, leaving only two players to conclude a very good afternoon’s music making.
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