CITYLIFE REVIEW: SUMMER DREAMS
Posted on June 1, 2011
As Douglas Boyd conducted his last concert of 10 years as music director of Manchester Camerata, I couldn’t help reflecting on what he’s achieved with them in that time.
There have been Proms appearances, a Beethoven symphony cycle (and other recordings) on CD, a higher artistic profile all round – and they play for him like a crack chamber ensemble every time.
It was clear in Saturday’s concert. New leader Giovanni Guzzo played the solo of Mendelssohn’s violin concerto with lovely tone and the passion the piece demands (the slow movement all the sweeter for being almost self-effacing).
But it was the adroitly pointed rhythms, the combination of sustained emotional effect and a classical sense of proportion, and the quality of the woodwind solos that stuck in my mind (Jo Patten’s clarinet playing in particular, if I may single one out among equals).
The complete Mendelssohn music for A Midsummer Night’s Dream, with former TV star John Savident narrating (and filling every role in the melodrama sections), along with the ladies of Manchester Chamber Choir and soloist Alison Rose, was a delight.
The orchestral playing was its strongest virtue, among many: the overture had twice the imagination and energy it’s often given, with Boyd making a virtue of its portrayals of the ‘rude mechanicals’ in the brass and wind – roles aptly played by the ever-versatile Camerata musicians.
Robert Beale – CityLife – 31 May 2011