Chandos Reviews

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The Chandos faced a major problem in the run-up to its 25th anniversary concert when its soloist had to pull out because of injury a few days before the event.

Fortunately, an excellent replacement was found in Matthew Trusler, who gave a first-class interpretation of Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto in D major.

Chandos is an amateur orchestra and this last-minute change of programme could have spelt a disaster. But, the musicians rose to the challenge admirably, with their apparently unflappable conductor Michael Lloyd in command and Edward Bale leading.

In the 'Allegro', detached support from strings was given to the soloist's theme, and woodwind similarly. Trusler's cadenza with clear high notes, carefully considered decorations and accomplished double stopping was meritorious. In 'Canzonetta, Andante' a quiet melancholy pervaded as Trusler showed masterly skill in his choice of phrasing, tempi and dynamics, and his soulful theme was heard in tandem with exemplary woodwind.

The 'Finale' was exhilarating as the entire orchestra offered rapid interjections in an exciting last accelerando.

Holst's Suite: The Planets allowed this large orchestra to be heard in its entirety. In 'Mars: bringer of war' timpani beat with persistence, loud swells of sound and dissonant chords threatened. 'Venus: bringer of peace' was orchestrated lightly, with velvet smooth horns adding textural warmth. In 'Jupiter: bringer of jollity' beautiful legato playing by strings in unison presented the familiar melody of 'I vow to thee my country'. The last, 'Neptune: the mystic', ghostly in character, was marred by the voices singing off-stage. Their intonation was inaccurate and much of the harmony was missing. This spoilt the close of the concert, which had begun with the rousing music, galvanised by brass, of Elgar's Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1.

Perhaps this ebullient music would have made a more satisfying end?

Jill Hopkins