REVIEW: The Eroica Orchestra, Evening Concert, St. Pauls Church, Chichester,  Saturday 29th April 2017 – 7.30pm.

James Thomas - Eroica
James Thomas - Eroica

Chichester’s new Eroica Orchestra, founded and conducted by James Thomas, presented a selection of orchestral music, which quintessentially brought together, British and European musical jewels in its evening programme.

The orchestra showed its ability to sensitively reflect upon the warm lyrical melodies of, ‘On the Banks of Green Willow,’ composed by George Butterworth and the, ‘Romance in F major,’ by Beethoven. These were both performed with a mature understanding of musical colour and emotional warmth. This was particularly evident in the accomplished solo violin performance of the Orchestra’s Leader, Nataly Corolscaia, which demonstrated both a high level of technical proficiency and a sensitive connection with the music.

The first half concluded with, ‘The Five Variants on Dives and Lazarus,’ composed by Ralph Vaughan Williams; which left little doubt of the direction that English music was about to take. Again the sonority of the string ensemble playing, coupled by brass and woodwind, showed how this relatively new ensemble, had really developed musically, since its debut last year.

The Finale featured a master class of Symphonic writing with an assured and forthright performance of, ‘Symphony No. 7 in A Major, Op. 92,’ composed by Beethoven. Again, the orchestra demonstrated a clear understanding of the composer’s intentions, with equal attention to the dynamic, lyrical and structural demands of the piece. This completed a musical journey that left the audiences with a clear sense of satisfaction and resolution; bringing together a unique international ensemble of graduate and undergraduate performers, who all demonstrated a high level of musical accomplishment. I look forward to their next performance, in the autumn.

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