The Lichfield Sinfonia were on fine form with a programme to match at the Lichfield Guildhall earlier this month.
In the first half we were treated to two unfinished symphonies: Schubert’s Symphony No 8 and Borodin’s Symphony No 3.
In the Schubert, there was some excellent playing from the cello section, ably led by Christine Taig. They brought out the lyrical quality of the first movement beautifully, which was well matched by the first violins in response.
The conductor, Sarah Birchall, steered the orchestra admirably, bringing out the intensity of the darker moments of the music in the second movement.
In a spirited performance of the Borodin, the Russian Steppes were brought to life, with some fine playing from Carol Parr on the Oboe .
From Russia to the pageantry of London, the second half started with Paul Lewis’ Festival of London March.
This piece, influenced by the music of William Walton, gave the brass section the opportunity to display their colours and they made the most of it with some confident and impressive fanfare playing.
There followed extracts from Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet suites (1 and 2), including the well-known March of the Knights. Strong rhythmic playing brought out the dramatic quality of this suite, though, unfortunately, the more delicate ethereal moments in the music did not work quite so well, with the playing becoming a bit muddled at times.
The final item of the programme was Soirees Musicales, an orchestral suite by Benjamin Britten. The suite is divided into five contrasting parts with influences ranging from the Spanish Bolero dancer to the Alpine yodeller. Clearly, the orchestra enjoyed playing this suite, with some colourful and inspired playing throughout, producing some feet tapping moments.
Overall, this was a very enjoyable concert both in terms of the selection of music performed and in the quality of the playing.
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