A LARGE audience gathered in the University of York’s music department for a concert on the 100th birthday anniversary of the arts philanthropist and benefactor Jack Lyons.
Head of department Ambrose Field introduced the celebration, speaking of York’s—and Yorkshire’s—appreciation for continuing opportunities available to young musicians through the Sir Jack Lyons Charitable Trust.
The university’s Chamber Orchestra of about 50 players was joined by cellist Adrian Brendel and violinist Jack Liebeck in Brahms’s Double Concerto. Its bold gestures, authoritatively delivered by the highly regarded guest soloists who interacted conversationally throughout, contributed an appropriate sense of occasion.
The slow movement began with a warm resonant sound, soloists and strings blending beautifully; woodwind detail was tellingly presented in the finale, but not overstated.
Brendel returned after the interval to perform Bruch’s gentle and melodious Kol Nidrei. Again the ensemble responsively supported the sonorous soloist.
The orchestra then played Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony. Beethoven’s brook babbled along sunnily; his peasants’ merrymaking was humorously earnest; his storm sounded suitably thunderous, the double basses dispatching the lower rumblings with conspicuous agility. The thanksgiving finale had the requisite joie de vivre.
Watching their conductor John Stringer closely all evening, the orchestra reacted quickly to his every move. Any undernourished string sound in intricate passagework, or infrequent tendency in slow sustained music for the tone to sag, was compensated by the energy and understanding of this well-drilled ensemble.
It was good that so many were in the hall to hear such intelligent young players.