“Conductor and violinist Steve Bingham, Ely Sinfonia and soloists Helen-Louise Baker (flute) and Daniel de-Fry (harp) presented a magnificent concert in Sutton’s 14th century church recently.
The programme was ideal. The event opened and closed with rousing, atmospheric orchestral overtures. Beethoven’s Fidelio Overture opened the concert making the most of Beethoven’s dramatic changes and a phenomenally vivacious performance of Rossini’s Thieving Magpie Overture brought the event to a rousing close.
Sandwiched in between were a series of varied and delightful items: the challenging Symphonies of Wind Instruments by Stravinsky, Mozart’s Concerto for Flute and Harp, Elgar’s Serenade for Strings, and Bach’s Violin Concerto in E.
The Stravinsky demanded a sophisticated understanding of rhythmic and tonal explorations and these fine instrumentalists under the baton of the highly accomplished conductor, Steve, presented a cohesive and intriguing work, thoroughly exploring the wide range of expressions from the shrill, impish, sinister, lyrical and mysterious to episodes that were more sustained and sonorous.
Mozart’s Concerto for Flute and Harp was beauty personified. The two soloists were particularly well suited and with a background of solid technique and musical perception, Mozart’s charming score was given a fresh and appealing touch.
You can never hear too much of good music and Elgar’s Serenade for Strings takes a lot of beating. The strings in this concert displayed conspicuously sensitive precision in their phrasing bringing out Elgar’s warmth and depth magnificently. The sonorous statements in the second movement were particularly Mahler-like.
When Steven prepared to play the solo part of the Bach violin concerto we knew it was going to be good and indeed Bach’s running lines were given new life and shape. Repeated motifs were never repetitive. In this piece the tremendous variety of expression the performers could command was especially noticeable.
After the grand finale of the Rossini, it was not surprising that an encore was demanded and, much to their delight, members of the audience were treated to more of the Rossini.
This orchestra is well worth following.”
Dr Rosemary Westwell, Local Arts Critic