Magazine article Musical Opinion

Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra of London

Magazine article Musical Opinion

Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra of London

Article excerpt

This recently-formed medium-sized (about 50-strong) orchestra of mainly young professionals began its second season of concerts under its gifted conductor Christopher Petrie at Cadogan Hall on October 11 with an unusually-shaped programme based around its new recording for the American Centaur label, in which the soloist was the American flautist Margaret Cornils Luke.

The unusual shape of the programme was that the first half comprised no fewer than four short works for flute and orchestra; the second half was Tchaikovsky's Pathétique Symjphony. Odd though this programme may have appeared at first, in practice it worked very well, for the choice of those four works was cleverly done and the performances were uniformly excellent.

The concert began with Cécile Chaminade's delightful Concertino for flute and orchestra, a work beloved of flute-players and of lovers of fin-de-siècle French music, for it is a truly winning score that well deserves its place in the repertoire of the instrument, and on this occasion it was revealed - for those who do not know it - as a particularly endearing composition.

Ms Cornils Luke's playing was at all times intensely musical and self-effacing - not for her an attempt at a personality cult - with the admirable result that we could concentrate entirely upon the quality of the music. A nod to Ms Cornils Luke's homeland followed in Charles Griffes's Poem for flute and orchestra - a work recorded in the very early days of long-playing records, an aeon ago, by Arthur Foote, which revealed Griffes to be an exceptionally gifted composer whose tragically early death (in his mid-thirties from the global 1919 influenza epidemic) robbed American music of one of its most individual voices.

This proved a most suitable foil to the Chaminade - albeit not so very far removed in character - and an admirable prelude to Carl Reinecke's D minor Ballade for flute and orchestra, bearing the composer's impressive final opus number 288. …

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