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Musical Portraits

The Rautavaara (Pelimannit) Op 1 - Einojuhani Rautavaara
Holberg Suite Op 40 - Edvard Grieg
Concerto for Violin in D, 'Il Grosso Mogul' RV 208 - Antonio Vivaldi
Emperor Akbar, arr. string orch. - Albert Schnelzer

Arensky Chamber Orchestra/Clio Gould

Cadogan Hall, London, March 17, 2011

A delightful evening from an eager, young orchestra, with a well conceived thematic programme sequence that worked well and was intelligently prefaced in the programme.

We were welcomed into Cadogan Hall for Rautavaara's The Rautavaara by a group of musicians in the gallery over the platform playing traditionlal Finnish dances, which student Einojuhani had worked up into a thoroughly viable concert starter, which showed immediately that this was an orchestra to listen to.

Long unheard live, the Holberg Suite is typical Classic FM fare, too familiar maybe, but brought vividly to life again by the Arenskys (why him?? - see ABOUT).

The Swedish novelty was from Albert Schnelzer, new to most of us I guess, but he had been featured in the Proms. His attractive piece, following the Akbar theme in Vivaldi, was introduced by a succinct reading from Rushdie about the enlightened and yet casually brutal Emperor.

Clio Gould, who held the whole concert together directing from the violin, was immensely subtle in her phrasing and colouring of a Vivaldi concerto which might have been about the Mughals' Akbar the Great.

A fine Strad, stylish playing from all, though the Arensky Chamber Orchestrais not a fully paid up and registered baroque neo-authentic band. Virtuosity aplenty and uncanny accuracy which, on a CD, you might think would have needed several "takes", it was not thrown at you to impress, and it underpinned Clio's direction of the whole concert, which whilst not being recorded for broadcast was being filmed upstairs, I was glad to note.

Diarise the orchestra's upcoming concerts.

Peter Grahame Woolf