Tonight, I had the pleasure of enjoying Chester Philharmonic Orchestra performing in the stunning setting of Chester Cathedral.
It was an ambitious programme of Beethoven and Brahms, playing to a large and appreciative audience in the heart of the Cathedral.
The concert began powerfully with Beethoven’s Fidelio. Conductor David Chatwin coped admirably with the large reverb of the Cathedral surroundings, allowing the drama of the piece to develop. The strings and timpani were especially dynamic. Fidelio proved to be a good choice to warm the orchestra up for Brahms’ Violin Concerto, with soloist Qian Wu. While not denying her technical facility in the rapid portions of this composition, she seemed to shine brightest in the lilting lyrical passages. The role of the orchestra in supporting a concerto soloist is never one to envy, but they gave a sensitive performance, maintained to the final bar.
After the interval, the last piece of the evening was Beethoven’s Pastoral – Symphony no. 6. This well-known composition has so much exposed writing that it is a good test of an orchestra’s ability. Coming at the end of a busy concert, they might have been tired but it didn’t show. The atmosphere of the concert was friendly and welcoming and a credit to the hard work of the dedicated musicians of Chester Philharmonic Orchestra.