There’s a very nice review of last night’s concert with Orchestra of the Swan by critic Edward Clark now up on the Classical Source website. Read the whole thing here.
A short sample follows:
….This Orchestra of the Swan concert began with the first such genius, Edward Elgar. His early Serenade for Strings sometimes bores me to tears. Under Kenneth Woods I was enthralled from beginning to end due to his diligence over perfect pacing and dynamic contrasts….Before the performance of Tallis Fantasia (although from a slightly later date) came The Lark Ascending. Both works received superlative performances again due to Woods’s motivational abilities on his willing players, Tamsin Waley-Cohen’s purity of tone, and an ability to hold the line in the poetic statement enshrined in this magical work.
Finally there followed the moderniser who replaced Vaughan Williams in the then hierarchy of English music, Benjamin Britten. That said, today we know better than to follow fashion. Thus Britten, Vaughan Williams and Elgar are all rightly venerated for their individual gifts. Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge is an early work but one of Britten’s most endearing. Taking as its starting point Frank Bridge’s Second Idyll (for string quartet), Britten creates a varied stream of musical inspiration. Woods bought out every facet of this virtuoso score to complete an evening of transcendentally beautiful playing by Orchestra of the Swan under the inspired direction of Kenneth Woods.