From the Surrey Advertiser
6 April 2012 Surrey Advertiser 21
Fine finale to Spring Music Festival
THE Surrey Mozart Players, under their charismatic conductor Kenneth Woods, presented a heart-warming programme to close the week-long Guildford Spring Music Festival at the Electric Theatre on Saturday March 24. .
They began with the stirring overture to Weber’s opera Oberon, commissioned by London’s Royal Opera House and performed to tremendous acclaim just a couple of months before the composer’s death. Much of the ridiculous plot is reflected in the overture, full of good tunes as it is and opening, as it does, with Oberon’s horn call bringing everyone to attention. This was a neat, well controlled and extremely enjoyable performance.
Dvorak’s Variations on an Original Theme is perhaps less well-known and it was good to hear this piece performed. It consists of countless variations on a quirky little theme containing a strange accidental: these variations are original indeed and the keys range far away from the opening and closing C major. The orchestra gave a scintillating performance.
Brahms spent some 17 years composing his first symphony, standing, as he felt he did, in the shadow of Beethoven but his second, a much sunnier work, was completed in a matter of weeks. It is a glorious work, full of good tunes, lovely orchestration and beautiful harmonies, and from time to time laced with Brahmsian pathos.
The performance was a joy to hear and it was good to have the horns, which began the programme so arrestingly with Oberon’s horn call, ending with a triumphant D major triad at the conclusion of the symphony.