Ten Tors Orchestra with Florian Mitrea at St Andrew's Church Plymouth (review)

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It was so refreshing to see the Ten Tors Orchestra back doing what they do naturally, with their programme of absolute classical bonbons, under conductor Simon Ible.

Opening with Beethoven’s imposing Egmont Overture, the orchestra, led by Malcolm Latchem, quickly settled to give a powerful reading, distinguished by some fine woodwind work, and a coda taken at an exceptional pace.

Romanian-born pianist Florian Mitrea, inset, had already appeared with the orchestra on their 2011 short tour to Bucharest, playing Mozart’s Little A major Concerto, so the choice of the composer’s more demanding companion work, K 488, was ideal.

Florian played with confidence throughout, with the neatest articulation in the rapid passage-work, and a great sense of space in the glorious slow movement.

His skilfully-managed dynamic range ensured that the full-size concert-grand never overwhelmed the orchestra, and his occasional extra ornamentation added a little touch of individuality to the proceedings.

Opening the finale at a very bright tempo, he maintained a virtually perfect ensemble with the orchestra, despite the difficulties for some of the wind players, whose view and hearing were clearly obstructed by the piano lid.

If the concerto had been the overall highlight, the performance of Beethoven’s Eroica Symphony came in neck-and-neck.

With the slightly enlarged instrumental resources on hand, this was certainly the best playing heard from the orchestra for some time, and watching everyone have a real ball in the finale was the icing on the cake – surely what music-making is really all about.


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