Edinburgh Napier Chamber Orchestra, Stockbridge Parish Church, Review

Rating (out of 5)
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Edinburgh Napier Chamber Orchestra
Mozart, Overture, Idomeneo, K. 366; Vivaldi, 'Spring' from Four Seasons; Martinu, Promenades for flute, violin and harpsichord, H.274; Sibelius, Andante Festivo for strings and timpani; Vivaldi, Piccolo Concerto in C major, RV443; Mozart, Symphony No.8 in D major, K.48.
Kenneth Dempster (conductor), Pierre Attard (violin), Laura Cioffi (flute and piccolo)
Running time

To open the concert, the distinguished Scottish composer Kenneth Dempster conducted the forty strong Edinburgh Napier Chamber Orchestra in the bright and cheerful overture to Idomeneo, Mozart's first mature opera. The tone was set for a happy and well thought through programme in the beautifully maintained and acoustically pure Stockbridge Parish Church.

It was the strings alone who accompanied the Orchestra's leader, Pierre Attard, in that part of Vivaldi's Four Seasons attributed to Spring. And what mastery Pierre Attard displayed with his violin for, whilst his colleagues were looking anxiously towards their music stands, the soloist was in calm and total control of his part and a delight to watch.

There was perhaps a little too much stage shuffling bringing forward the harpsichord on which maestro Michael Harris then accompanied both Pierre Attard and Laura Cioffi for Martinu's Four Promenades for Flute, Violin and Harpsichord. I have watched Laura Cioffi perform more than once and as she comes to end of her course at Edinburgh Napier there is no doubt she has a flautist's career assured for her.

After the interval of tea and cakes the strings and timpani played the last work written by Sibelius, his Andante Festivo. From time to time the battle between the strings and the timpanist went the way of the drums - and the cool relaxed but confident way in which the timpani sticks were controlled was exhilarating.

Laura Cioffi downsized to the piccolo for Vivaldi's Piccolo Concerto in C major to show her prowess in a work where harpsichord and bassoon also feature, the latter prominently. The concert ended with Mozart's Symphony no 8 in D major with the entire Orchestra involved. Whether it should have ended as abruptly as it did, I'm not so sure. But it was great concert featuring two of Malta's finest young musicians funded for their entire course in Edinburgh by the magnificent Ian Tomlin scholarships.

Concert: Wednesday 26th November 2014 at 7.30pm