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Review: Swaffham soloist shines at concert

The new season got off to a cracking start recently with a fine, riveting, concert given by the newly-formed Ensemble East Chamber Orchestra with soloist Will Fergusson in Schumann’s Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 54.

The concert took place in the Church of St Peter and St Paul, Swaffham, as part of the Swaffham Arts series of events, and the venue proved to be a successful one, with excellent acoustics suiting the performers and choice of repertoire well.

The musicians are all highly talented and local, and the piano soloist also has strong connections with the area.

Will Fergusson (19966823)
Will Fergusson (19966823)

At very short notice the well-known violinist and conductor Steve Bingham (now musical director of the Norfolk Symphony Orchestra), led the ensemble to great effect.

It does not usually have a conductor and does split up into smaller wind and string groups when performances demand it.

The concert started with a solid performance of Mozart’s overture to his opera Cosi Fan Tutte, (the first opera I saw live at Covent Garden), and continued with a sparkling account of the Schumann Concerto, difficult to perform, multi layered and with many mood changes to cope with!

Fergusson effortlessly interpreted the work, overcoming its challenges and we listeners were able to concentrate on the beauties, romance, and passion of the piece. Well done soloist and orchestra both!

The second half of the concert consisted of one work, Beethoven’s 2nd Symphony, in D Major, Op. 36.

Beethoven’s growing deafness was a great concern to the composer at the time of the work’s conception and composition, but the symphony has lyricism and tenderness as well as passion and power, those driving rhythms never far away.

All the orchestra’s sections gave of their best, clarity and excellent intonation being their watchword. Tempi were just right, in my view! I certainly look forward to future concerts given by this newly formed ensemble.

Review by Andy Tyler

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