Review of Ely Sinfonia’s concert


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‘From Russia with Love’,

on Saturday 28th April 2018

From its inauguration in 1999, Ely Sinfonia conducted by Steve Bingham has developed into a fine orchestra and tonight’s concert certainly had its highlights.

I arrived thinking we would have some easy popular tunes to indulge our romantic senses while we admired the magnificent spectacle of the large orchestra with its variety of instruments and the beautiful cathedral.

The title of the concert was ‘From Russia with Love’  featuring three very well-known composers, Tchaikovsky, Prokofiev and Kachaturian, all known for some of the most famous love tunes, so the concert was bound to be full of easy-listening.

However, this was no easy ride – we were kept very much awake and alive as these splendid musicians presented the works with energy, precision and a wealth of tonal variation. In the hands of Steve Bingham, the music ebbed and flowed deliciously sometimes building up to tremendous climaxes that had us swept along in their wake. All sections: strings, woodwind, brass, and percussion had grand moments when highly talented performers shone.

The works performed included Kachaturian’s ‘Spartacus Suite no.2’, Tchaikovsky’s ‘Romeo and Juliet Suite no 1, and his second symphony (the ‘Little Russian’). The concert ended with suite no 1 from Prokofiev’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’.

Our expectations were well met when the theme from the TV series, the ‘Onedin Line’ (the Adagio in the Spartacus Suite) resounded in the vaults of the cathedral, the strings especially ringing out a beautiful rich tone. This swelled our hearts splendidly. Tchaikovsky’s second symphony was most enjoyable and gave us glimpses of the later work by this composer. When the Prokiev came we waited with bated breath for the theme we were expecting, but no, this suite was much more complex, colourful and intricate than expected. However, there were numerous singable tunes the orchestra brought out well, and the standard of playing in this piece and the effectiveness of the music compensated more than enough for our minor disappointment.

This was a wonderful concert. The next one to look forward to is on Saturday 29th September 2018.


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