Mark Sellen writes: From the moment the audience entered St Michael’s Church, Summertown, on Sunday evening they knew they were in for a real treat. The programme cover, showing the chronologically apt image of Caspar David Friedrich’s ‘The Wanderer’, set the tone. The musical content of the programme itself was of high quality.
The evening began with Rossini’s Overture to ‘The Barber of Seville’. The fine lines in the woodwind were well placed against the incisive string playing, with the brass and percussion assisting admirably and effectively throughout. In the work which followed, the second and third movements of FJ Haydn’s Concerto for Trumpet, the soloist was Tom Powell. He held his lines with great skill and subtle phrasing against sensitive support from the orchestra. It was difficult to reconcile the maturity of the playing, which demonstrated a remarkable level of control, with that of the age of the soloist, who has yet to sit his GCSE examinations – a real treat. The programme concluded with Schubert’s Symphony number 8, ‘The Unfinished’. There were many highlights here, not least that of the full-toned ‘cello playing and the vibrancy of the upper strings. Solo and doubled woodwind lines were well held against underpinning string ostinati and there was some very impressive playing from the flutes. Sonorities were well placed with the aid of disciplined brass timbres.
The acoustic on this occasion led to lines not always maintaining their ideal clarity but the players were responsive to the direction of Mr Damiani, nevertheless.