Firebird orchestra: nice classical showcase for a young orchestra
I was excited about seeing for the first time Firebird Orchestra. I am subscriber of their mailing list and once a month they send an email with information about the music they are going to be perform in the next concert. Theres emails are the best one among all of those I receive. Delightful, well written and to the point.
The programme was quite interesting, so expectations were quite high. Did it meet expectations? I would say yes.
Haydn Symphony No. 94 opened the concert with clear textures coming from each orchestra section. Moderate vibrato and legato approach make it very classic. George Jackson did a busy conducting taking care of every attack.
Strauss Oboe Concerto is not that common in the concert halls as it should be: is to Strauss symphonic music what Der Rosenkavalier is to his operas: a homage to classic period and to Mozart. Olivier Stankiewicz the LSO principal oboist was announced as soloist earlier last year on the LCM series brochure but was replaced by John Anderson, principal at the English Chamber Orchestra. He played it well, with admirable breathing control for such a demanding work with long lyrical phrases and very few rest points. Probably he used a mix of normal and circular breathing breaking some phrase lines in an intelligent way. The orchestra was quite good at accompanying with nice overlapping effects.
The second part included another soloist: Chinese soprano He Wu singing two Mozart arias. First Batti o batti bel Masetto from Don Giovanni was sung in a polished way but without roguish accent it demands. Much better was the insertion aria Vorrei spiegarvi, oh Dio (curiously, and linking with the previous work, with an oboe solo). More focused on the beauty now, with a warm and secure tone the notes sounded richer.
Finally Schubert Symphony No.3 was the best part for virtuosity playing from the orchestra. Every section had its own sparkling moment and fast tempi were accurately carried with the concertmaster leading a superb strings section.