Ten Tors Orchestra with Rosalind Ventris at St Mary's Church in Totnes (review)

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It might have been the special Totnes ambiance, or the rewarding acoustic, but the Ten Tors Orchestra was on top form from the very opening of a delightfully refreshing early Mozart symphony, giving a sparkling performance with especially effective contributions from oboes and horns.

Essentially in string orchestra rig, and led by Malcolm Latchem, the players drew some lovely textures and stunning dynamics from local composer, Sam Richards’s Hidden Friends, even though the facility to fast-forward might have been welcome as it went on.

But the real jewel in this veritable crown of riches was the quite superb playing of Rosalind Ventris in Telemann’s Viola Concerto.

She negotiated the passage-work with great aplomb in the fast movements, produced a gloriously rich tone in the slow ones but, most importantly, brought a real sense of fun and enjoyment to the playing, to which the orchestra responded so efficiently.

Contrast came with Hindemith’s Trauermusik for Viola and Strings, where the music was always poignantly felt, yet never over-sentimental, leaving a spritely reading of Haydn’s Trauer Symphony to round-off a highly enjoyable concert.

The ultimate accolades must go to conductor, Simon Ible, not only for his precise lead, and, as ever, successful programming, but for his interesting spoken introductions – something where length is so crucial, even if there might be a case for that extra German lesson or two!


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