REVIEW: Boyd can do no wrong!

Posted on May 24, 2010

Robert Beale reviews Manchester Camerata’s PARIS, VIENNA, LONDON concert in City Life

The Camerata’s music director, Douglas Boyd, has just a year to go in the post and they should make the most of it, as his like do not come round often.

Saturday’s concert at The Bridgewater Hall showed his deft and vital approach to music of the classical era, beginning with Mozart’s ‘Paris’ symphony, no. 31. With Thomas Gould leading the orchestra, there was precision and alertness in every phrase, and Boyd’s ability to shape detail within a flowing context was apparent throughout – not least in the charming Andantino middle movement.

Kathryn Stott made what has become a rare and special appearance as concerto soloist, in Mozart’s 20th, the rich and at times tragic D minor one, written for Vienna. She obtains an amazing variety of colour and articulation from the modern piano without it ever sounding inappropriately heavy against the chamber orchestra, with subtle nuances of pulse and phrasing to lift its effect.

There were imaginative touches of expression and dynamic to add to the Romanze’s flow of melodies (though also a couple of mis-synchronisations with the orchestra here). In the finale, Boyd’s sense of rhythmic emphasis and energy combined with his assiduous partnership – and her willingness to play a subservient role from time to time – to create an extraordinarily satisfying result

As an encore, she made her tribute to Chopin, with the sweetly sad and moving Prelude in E minor from op. 28 – an interesting footnote to one of Mozart’s most moody and Romantic creations.

There was new music in this programme, too (wisely unannounced in advance). José Guillermo Puello, a postgraduate at Manchester University, wrote Cojuelo Spirit for string quintet and four wind players and used the syncopated rhythms of his Dominican Republic homeland to winning effect in its four minutes’ length.

Back to the 18th century, and Haydn’s London symphony no. 104 ended the programme on an effervescent note, with its minuet (though not the trio) at a lively pace and a very spirited final movement. In this territory, Boyd can do no wrong.

Read the review on the CityLIfe webpage by clicking here