Review: Perfect musical mix made orchestra’s Apex concert a joy

Suffolk Philharminic Orchestra's conductor Leslie Olive with competition winners, from the left, Hayley Homyer from Stowmarket, Jane Offord of Battisford and Fran McCarthy of Braintree ANL-140311-103112001
Suffolk Philharminic Orchestra's conductor Leslie Olive with competition winners, from the left, Hayley Homyer from Stowmarket, Jane Offord of Battisford and Fran McCarthy of Braintree ANL-140311-103112001
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The Apex, Bury St Edmunds,

Sunday November 2.

Suffolk Philharmonic Orchestra provided a perfect mix of the accessible and the awe-inspiring, proving that accessible does not have to mean boring.

It opened with Barber’s Adagio for Strings – described as ‘the saddest piece of music of all time’, played at presidential funerals and as a tribute to victims of the 9/11 attacks. Here, its richness left the audience fulfilled rather than sad.

Mendelssohn’s The Hebrides (Fingal’s Cave) overture made the ideal complement but soloist Benjamin Baker’s performance of Bruch’s Violin Concerto No 1 in G minor was the performance highlight. He makes the violin sing and it’s hard to imagine how, at just 24, he can improve in technique or interpretation.

Later, Benjamin enthused over the Apex: “Some venues are fine for rehearsal but lose the sound quality when the audience is there. This was great for rehearsal and even better with the audience.

“You’re also close enough to make a relationship. It gave me a real buzz to play here.”

The Bruch was, perhaps, an impossible act to follow, but conductor Leslie Olive’s interpretation of Vaughan Williams’ Symphony No 5 in D, with its challenging second movement, held its own.