Review: Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at Chesterfield’s Winding Wheel

Clio Gould played with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at the Winding Wheel, Chesterfield.
Clio Gould played with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at the Winding Wheel, Chesterfield.
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It’s not every day that an orchestra performs on its feet, but the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra’s lively performance at the Winding Wheel left the audience on the edge of their seat with a diverse programme of exquisite music.

From the light-hearted vigour of Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro Overture to the quintessentially English Serenade for Strings by Elgar – followed by Bach’s Concerto for Two Violins in D minor – the world-famous ensemble delivered a succinct and vibrant performance under the articulate bow of Clio Gould.

Hungarian violinist Tamás András played a passionate interpretation of the Bach alongside Gould, adjusting well to the resonant acoustics of the concert hall. While some of the crisp intricacies of Bach’s passages – as well as the exposed transparency of Mozart – drifted into the larger sound of the ensemble, Barber’s ever heart-wrenching lulls in Adagio for Strings reached a perfect acoustic balance. With an intense build-up to the climax and great dynamic scope and phrasing, the orchestra captured the melancholy throes of the work, followed by a dramatic silence after its conclusion.

The ultimate highlight was Mendelssohn’s vivacious “Italian” Symphony No. 4. Rich brass, velvety winds and beautifully resonant strings in both upper and lower sections – accompanied by the gentle rumble and occasional bombastic boom from the tImpani – sounded perfect. From the festive dances in the first and last movements to the haunting, picturesque scenes of the second and third, Mendelssohn’s highly-spirited work set alight the imagination and the soul.

Gould knew just when to unleash the great, swelling fortissimos and how to draw the ensemble back in for the articulate staccatos sections and melodic phrases. The colourful programme and excellent performance served as a reminder why the Royal Philharmonic brings so much delight to communities across the country and around the world, and the warm reception by the Chesterfield crowd signified an invitation for the ensemble to return again in the future.

LUCY ARMSTRONG