Grieg’s Piano Concerto in A Minor is a piece everyone will recognise, even if they can’t immediately identify it.
Suffolk Philharmonic Orchestra ensured that even the most knowledgeable in the Bury Festival concert audience must have left knowing they had been treated to something special.
It was a privilege to hear soloist Alexander Ullman, whose assured handling of dynamics gave colour and depth. It seemed serendipitous that this 25-year-old London-born pianist, who already has an international reputation, is the same age as Grieg when the Norwegian composer created what was to become one of the world’s most popular concertos.
After whetting the audience’s appetite with Mozart’s overture to The Magic Flute and satisfying it with the Grieg, the orchestra returned to perform Beethoven’s Symphony No 3 in E flat, the Eroica. Amidst the emotion and grandeur of this evocation of heroism and adversity, they brought out the simpler beauty of the third movement, the Scherzo.
This is SPO’s fifth season and, thanks to founder and conductor Leslie Olive, the orchestra and its audiences have plenty to celebrate. From the start, Mr Olive has not only brought top musicians and international soloists to the county but has taken their gifts into the community via school visits and community concerts as well as sell-out performances like this.
The concert ended with a presentation to Andrew Speed and his team at St Edmundsbury Financial Services to mark the company’s financial support over the orchestra’s first five years.