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Lakeland Sinfonia’s Best Performance Ever?

Independent Review: Lakeland Sinfonia 18th November 2023

The Lakeland Sinfonia’s concert in Kendal Parish Church on 18th November marked the 400th concert in the Society’s long history and it was fitting that the orchestra on stage was the Lakeland Sinfonia since it was this orchestra that gave a series of concerts in Kendal in the early days under the name Kendal Chamber Orchestra. The orchestra has changed considerably over the years: what was once a body of mainly local amateur players has now become an orchestra of professionally trained musicians; many are teachers, some retired orchestral players and some earn their living as full-time musicians.

What we heard on November 18 was an orchestra that can hold its own alongside visiting orchestras. The standard of performance was consistently high throughout the evening. Mozart’s Idomeneo ballet music and Overture got the concert off to good start and then the orchestra was joined by clarinettist Robert Plane for Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto. He gave a masterly performance – beautiful tone, immaculate technique and sensitive phrasing with equally sensitive support from the orchestra. The last movement was so full of energy and it was a joy to see conductor, Wyn Davies, so full of energy, almost bouncing off the podium as he communicated with the orchestra.

Rossini’s Introduction, Theme and Variations is a show piece for a virtuoso clarinetist and Robert Plane held our attention as he negotiated the many rapid variations which demand great skill and control.

Wyn Davies has a close rapport with the Lakeland Sinfonia; the players always enjoy working with him and respond well to his direction. He got Bizet’s Symphony in C moving at a good pace, choosing just the right tempo for the orchestra. The important oboe solo in the second movement was beautifully played by the first oboe. The last movement went along at a very good pace – as it needs to do to make an effect – and the first violins, who have all the rapid passage work in the upper register, were very convincing. Rhythms were kept tight throughout the whole symphony with a concern for balance and ensemble. This lovely symphony was a good way to end what was a very enjoyable concert.

Clive Walkley 19 November 2023

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