The essence of intimate ambience

International cellist Thomas Carroll conducts the Orpheus Sinfonia who were chosen to open this years Lincolnshire International Chamber Music Festival at St Botolph's Church in Boston on Saturday night.  Photo supplied.
International cellist Thomas Carroll conducts the Orpheus Sinfonia who were chosen to open this years Lincolnshire International Chamber Music Festival at St Botolph's Church in Boston on Saturday night. Photo supplied.
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Orpheus Sinfonia

Lincolnshire International Chamber Music Festival

St Botolph’s Church, Boston

A conductor and just 13 musicians billed as “one of the most vibrant, dynamic and inspiring of young orchestras” performing today filled Boston Stump with a regal sound on Saturday.

How fitting that the 14th Lincolnshire International Chamber Music Festival, with the theme of “Romance and Revolution”, opened with works by Elgar, Dvorak and Tchaikovsky laced with sophistication and appreciation.

Conducted dynamically, energetically and magnetically by Thomas Carroll, an international cellist in his own right, the sinfonia started the concert with Elgar’s Serenade for Strings in E minor, Op. 20.

Widely considered to be Elgar’s own favourite work and described by him sas ‘really stringy in effect”, the musicians elevated it to another level entirely with a combination of subtle execution and invisible passion.

Made up of three movements, cheerful/pleasing, slow and fairly quick, the Stump seemed to fold its arms in contentment as the light melodies and gifted talents of the individual musicians seemed to blend uniquely.

Romance and Revolution is an idea that we’ve had for many, many years and I’m so pleased that it’s happening

Thomas Carroll, Conductor of The Orpheus Sinfonia

From the Englishness of Elgar, the concert suddenly turned to the Slavonic rhythms of Czech composer Antonin Dvorak and his own Serenade for Strings in E major. Op. 22

With its five movements ranging between a waltz and more downbeat sound, the musicians managed to capture the essence of Dvorak’s struggle between musical simplicity and more complex arrangements that were to come with the so-called “Romantic era”.

According to the programme notes for the concert, Dvorak’s serenade took just 12 days to compose in May 1875.

But far from marring Dvorak’s work with a cavalier approach to the five movements, Thomas galvanised his musicians into breathing a vitality into the work that sounded as equally romantic as it did revolutionary.

There was no danger of the Orpheus Sinfonia racing through the third serenade of the night, Tchaikovsky’s Seremade for Strings in C Major, Op.48.

First performed in October 1881, the four-movement work is understood to be Tchaikovsky’s bow to Mozart in terms of its richness, emotional content and pulsating brightness.

Much more experienced classical music reviewers may find fault with the orchestra’s interpretation of Tchaikovsky’s “little sonata”, waltz, harmony and folk melody that the four movements contain.

But a finer setting for a concert of this magnitude might be more difficult to find so surely it is time for more of these recitals to brought to the Lincolnshire Fens.

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