Britten Sinfonia – review

The Britten Sinfonia’s performance at the Theatre Royal, including the titular piece Within Her Arms by London born Anna Clyne, was exhilarating and passionate. Without exception, each piece played was delivered with fervour and an infectious sense of fun. From its Fantasia-esque string quartet opening to its powerful symphonic conclusion, the performance was stunning. The exchanged smiles and eye contact by the string quartet playing three pieces by Stravinsky was demonstrative of the love the Britten Sinfonia have for what they do.


Through this love, they have a sublime ability to emotionally move their audience. Their rendition of Clyne’s Within Her Arms, a piece written for her deceased mother, was as melancholic and sorrowful as the music itself. That being said, it was not without a sense of fondness and joy; reflective of the ambivalent psychology that accompanies the loss of a loved one. On a personal note, there is a bass note so deep that rolls underneath this piece that, as a bass player myself, I was rapturous.

However, that was nothing compared to the piano playing of Dejan Lazić, whom gave as good a demonstration of making the difficult look effortless as you will ever see playing Mozart’s Piano Concerto no. 12 in A Major, K414. The instantly recognisable style of Mozart and the major key was a delightful turn to the cheerful from the bittersweet sorrow of the previous piece.

After the interval we were treated to Little Concert, composed by Nicholas Maw, where Nicholas Daniel showed us all how you play the Oboe. The finale, Haydn’s Symphony no. 60, ‘Il Distratto’, was played with such vigour that some members of the orchestra’s bums were not on their seats. There was tremendous energy from the musicians all night, in particular from leader Jacqueline Shave.


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August 2022
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