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12:18pm Friday 22nd June 2012 in Leisure
Airedale Symphony Orchestra, King’s Hall, Ilkley, June 17
The high priests of authentic period performance practice have made ‘industrial-sized’ symphony orchestras afraid to play Mozart symphonies or – for that matter – Rossini overtures.
It made a refreshing change to hear the sparkling Overture to the Barber of Seville played by an orchestra of nearly 70 players. Although the textures were crisp given the large forces, more subtle shading of dynamics would have turned a competent and spirited performance into an excellent one.
Mikhail Nemtsov, a gifted young Russian cellist, certainly lifted the ASO’s richly-detailed accompaniment of Dvorak’s Cello Concerto on to an altogether different plain. Nemtsov’s richness of tone and his expressive phrasing really made the instrument sing. There was, however, a moment of bravura waywardness in the slow movement when Nemtsov seemed to forget that Dvorak intended the soloist and orchestra to form an integral whole. He went rushing ahead, but this lapse did not seriously detract from a deeply committed performance of this very personal work.
The Airedale Symphony, under their conductor John Anderson, ended this concert, and the orchestra’s season, with Sibelius’s popular Second Symphony. There was something of an end-of-term feel to the occasion; perhaps it was the bold assurance of the heavy brass, the scurrying string figures in the third movement or the pungent woodwind. Mainly, I suspect, it was due to Anderson’s powerful, driven approach to this symphony, which culminated in an expansive reading of the finale’s hymn-like peroration and an incandescent climax.