Amadeus Chamber Orchestra’s ‘Excellent’ concert in St Albans
15:04 September 26, 2022
John Manning reviews the final Amadeus Chamber Orchestra concert at St Savior’s Church, St Albans.
Although I’ve rarely attended a musical event that I didn’t like, there are few that sparked as much enjoyment as Saturday’s concert by the Amadeus Chamber Orchestra.
For, coupled with the usual high standard of performance that I expect from the orchestra, the program contained an old favorite that I had not heard for many years, one of the most popular violin concertos ever written, and an exciting piece of music that I had never heard before.
The opening of the concert was that of Gabriel Fauré Suite Pelléas and Mélisandea favorite from my youth that I hadn’t heard for many years.
The best known section is that of the movement, a beautiful Sicilian with a beautiful opening for harp and flute.
This was followed by a stunning performance by Taiwanese violinist Yu-Mien Sun as a soloist in the ever-popular Max Bruch Violin Concerto.
A work that demands a lot from the soloist, but Yu-Mien, now a regular member of the Hallé Orchestra, delivered an exceptional performance. The three movements are played as one continuous piece and the soloist plays almost continuously and her performance was full of life and passion.
The young American-British conductor Johann Stuckenbruck showed great ability with the orchestra and also paid close attention to the needs of the soloist, resulting in an exciting performance.
The evening ended with a performance by Francis Poulenc Sinfoniettaa work commissioned by the BBC and first performed in October 1948. It was a completely unknown work to me and also to friends with a much better knowledge of music than I – but it was another twist .
Simply put, this job is fun! With a nod to big band jazz, Poulenc also spotlights nearly every instrument in the orchestra as the work rushes through its delightful four movements.
At the end, one wonders why this wonderful piece of music is not better known.
In all the members of Amadeus, as well as its soloist and conductor, is to be commended for presenting an excellent and exciting evening of well-acted music.