A generous slice of success for orchestra - The Leamington Observer

A generous slice of success for orchestra

Leamington Editorial 27th Mar, 2023 Updated: 27th Mar, 2023   0

Leamington Chamber Orchestra

Holy Trinity Church, Leamington

THE CLOCKS may have changed but the timing of this splendid outing from the LCO was as good as ever. An inviting programme of pieces and another fine showing of top-drawer music-making.

A fine starter in the form of Philip Sawyers’ short work Remembrance showcased the orchestra in elegiac mood, a sumptuous string texture well-served by a piece with echoes of better known composers like Elgar and neglected masters of the genre like William Lloyd-Webber.

Max Bruch’s double concerto for clarinet and viola gave an opportunity for two of the orchestra’s own to come to the front and while Angela Dickson on viola grabbed the opportunity, her colleague Daniel Sanford-Casey was sadly indisposed with Peter Cigleris standing in at late notice for a fine rendition of this charming and criminally under-performed work.

The church’s vastness tended to favour the woodwind over the strings when it came to audibility, but there were some truly charming exchanges of phrase with both players clearly enjoying the surprise pairing.

It’s presumably a closely-guarded secret what mystery ingredient is baked into the abundancy of interval cakes and buns, but whatever it is, it always seems to work wonders on the orchestra.

The second half’s daunting challenge of Beethoven’s mountainous Eroica Symphony was begun literally on the hop as Richard Laing hit the launch button almost before he’d stepped on the podium. No lingering chance to finish the cake on offer.

And what a glorious, joyous ascent it heralded. The work’s first movement is a towering prospect in itself but the orchestra were never tighter and the control was exemplary throughout.

The acid test of these huge works lies not in the power an orchestra can give to the strongest parts, but the precision, delicacy and assuredness given to the quietest passages. And, but for a few shaky entrances in the brass, the quality overall held well throughout.

The funeral march was sublime. This is music of the most profound sadness and the LCO wrung every ounce of emotion from it. Beautifully graceful and held back but never losing sight of the fact that this is a march.

The LCO under Richard Laing continue to deliver fine programming with excellent performances. It’s not just the cakes, and their mystery ingredients, which keep filling the church pews.

The LCO return in July with a concert including Elgar’s evergreen Cello Concerto. Visit leamingtonchamberorchestra.org.uk for full details.

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