CONCERT REVIEW: Another coming of age for The Stump’s finest music ambassadors

A section of Boston Sinfonia perform at The Stump.  Photo by David Compton.
A section of Boston Sinfonia perform at The Stump. Photo by David Compton.
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Boston Sinfonia, with guest clarinettist Neil Atkinson, St Botolph’s Church, Boston

The final concert in Boston Sinfonia’s 21st anniversary season saw the orchestra’s principal clarinettist, Neil Atkinson, put on a star turn of musical excellence.

St Botolph’s Church, or The Stump, once again proved itself as a classical music venue of note as the orchestra played works by Frenchman Hector Berlioz, German Carl Maria von Weber and Russian Sergei Rachmaninov. Conducted by Nigel Morley, the 66-strong orchestra started Saturday’s concert with Berlioz’s “Overture Le Carnival Romain”, described in the programme notes as “a dazzling piece of orchestral writing”.

Then it was time for Atkinson’s interpretation of von Weber’s Clarinet Concerto No 1, with three movements that included the brass and woodwind-domintaed Adagio, while the rest of the piece mixed sombreness and playfulness. Rachmaninov’s Symphone No 1 was the work which brought the curtain down on the night, starting with a dark and fearful Grave movement that could have been the Russian composer’s way of committing his escape from the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution.

The second movement, Scherzo (light or playful), had echoes of Danny Elfman’s epic theme to the 1989 feature-length films Batman and Batman Returns.

A flourish of strings signalled the third movement before a crescendo of the tam-tam brought the concert to a grand and glorious end.

Review by Winston Brown