Ipswich Civic Concert review

Ipswich Civic Concert, April 23IT could have been a summer's evening, people standing on the pavement drinking wine and generally relaxed. Well, that suited the music they were to hear once inside the Ipswich Corn Exchange, as the City of London Synfonia conducted by Richard Hickox treated them to a program by English composers with Elgar's Cello Concerto and Vaughan William's Fifth Symphony as the main work.

Ipswich Civic Concert, April 23

IT could have been a summer's evening, people standing on the pavement drinking wine and generally relaxed. Well, that suited the music they were to hear once inside the Ipswich Corn Exchange, as the City of London Synfonia conducted by Richard Hickox treated them to a program by English composers with Elgar's Cello Concerto and Vaughan William's Fifth Symphony as the main work.

This is repertoire in which Hickox excells. Usually at the helm of one of this country's major synfonia orchestras, but the smaller sized CLS were in every sense a match in the well chosen program which opened with the lyrical and wistful Idyll The Banks of Green Willow, by a composer killed in the Great War.

George Butterworth was 29 when this work was premiered, and he died two years later. It recalled a bygone age, but has a wider appeal as does Elgar's Cello Concerto, played on Tuesday evening by Paul Watkins.

His no-nonsense approach contrasts with the much more physical stance adopted by Jacqueline du Pre and captured for posterity on film. If the performance lacked a degree of yearning, there was plenty of fire.

The second half of Tuesday evening's program continued that passionate quality with Delius' music about an ill fated couple who drowned. "A village Romeo and Juliet" was the opera, and the orchestral interlude The Walk to the Paradise Garden, the extract was heard by a large and appreciative audience. It certainly was appreciative by the final work of Vaughan Williams, the Fifth Symphony is not demanding listening but it extends players who looked visibly relieved when it finished, in the knowledge that they had played well and given much pleasure to an audience on a very warm evening.

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The good news is that they all return on May 23 for the final concert of the season.

Chris Green.

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