Young Concert Musicians in Flourishing Form; Christopher Morley Reviews Concerts by the Midland Youth Orchestra and Rimma Sushanskaya

By Morley, Christopher | The Birmingham Post (England), November 9, 1998 | Go to article overview

Young Concert Musicians in Flourishing Form; Christopher Morley Reviews Concerts by the Midland Youth Orchestra and Rimma Sushanskaya


Morley, Christopher, The Birmingham Post (England)


Even after 40 years the Midland Youth Orchestra continues to maintain hearteningly flourishing form. Saturday's concert was typically generous, both in its "lollipop" format and for its support of the Christian Medical College and Hospital in Vellore, So uth India.

Conductor Anthony Bradbury's clear and encouraging beat draws a generally lively response from his young charges. Sibelius' Finlandia opened with a good rasping brass sound in a reading crackling with tension. Less welcome was the tension in a stiff read ing of Faure's delicate Pavanne; some promising solo flute-playing went unacknowledged in the programme.

Tom Meryon was the under-projected soloist in Castelnuovo-Tedesco's Guitar Concerto. Certainly the orchestra was too large for this lightweight piece, but we looked for more personality from the protagonist. It was the unaccompanied opening of the centra l Romanza which allowed us best to appreciate Meryon's consummate technical security and welocused tone.

Shapely phrasing from the strings distinguished Grieg's Peer Gynt and a mature account of Walton's touching Henry V pieces. There was a refreshingly un-vulgar Elgar Pomp and Circumstance No.1; fine brass-work here, but rather too confident in an otherwis e exciting Berlioz Hungarian March.

For all the talent of these gifted youngsters, however, there is a need for attention to intonation; woodwind in the Sibelius and massed violins in the Faure were particular instances (cellos here were exemplary). …

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