Andrew Petch reviews Shrewsbury Symphony Orchestra's Autumn Concert in The Alington Hall with soloists Zoë Beyers (violin) and Richard Jenkinson (cello) conducted by John Moore. Pictures by Andy Bell Photography.
Beethoven’s 'Egmont' overture opened Wednesday’s concert at the Alington Hall, Shrewsbury School; it was the first of three works by titans of the nineteenth century music scene. It was followed by the concerto for violin and cello by Brahms and the event finished with Tchaikovsky’s 4th symphony.
All three works called for virtuosic playing from very section of the orchestra; the Beethoven opens with the horns in aggressive mode but the timpani and lower strings create an oppressive mood, all part of the programmatic nature of the work.
The Brahms Double concerto isn’t heard often in live performance, so it was a delight to hear two soloists of the highest calibre. Violinist Zoë Beyers and cellist Richard Jenkinson are members of the Dante String Quartet so are perfectly matched and held in high esteem by Shrewsbury audiences. John Moore skillfully guided the orchestra to provide the perfect accompaniment to the soloists in this sublime work: by turns vibrant, exuberant and at others hushed, always sensitive.
The final work, the 4th Symphony of Tchaikovsky was a tour de force. All the qualities of orchestral playing were in evidence and the tight discipline was never relaxed. While the brass players gave uninhibited expression to the passionate underlying nature of the piece, the pizzicato strings in the third movement were remarkable. Their control of the work’s dynamics was superb and the finale brought the symphony to a resounding conclusion.
Every work received a fine performance; John Moore and the players deserve congratulations for their dedication – we look forward to their future concerts!
The string section of The Shrewsbury Symphony Orchestra in Action (Alington Hall, Autumn 2023)