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 Review of Music from a Golden Age concert

For their final concert of their season at the Milton Keynes Theatre, the City Orchestra played a delicious programme of music from the turn of the18th century.  A substantial audience, including a number attending the orchestra's concerts for the first time, heard Hilary Davan Wetton conducting two well-known masterpieces and one of his favourite 'lollipops' - more of that later.  Beethoven's 'Pastoral' symphony is a favourite with audiences: it is easy on the ear, has musical drama and charm, and one of the best-known tunes in classical music dominates the last movement. The City Orchestra gave a typical performance, full of insight and technical mastery, with the big tune played delightfully. The soloist in Mozart's wonderful C major piano concerto from 1785 was a young German, Florian Uhlig, who was new to me but impressed both by his technical mastery and his musical insight. The first movement cadenza was a tribute to his English audience, with several well-known British tunes skilfully intermingled with Mozart's melodies. It was clear from the audience reaction that a return visit would be very welcome from this thoughtful young man. The work which started the concert was written the year before Mozart's concerto, and by a composer who had been called 'the English Mozart'. Samuel Wesley, the son of Charles and nephew of John Wesley, didn't fulfil his early promise but still managed to write charming music that is well worth a visit. Wetton's enthusiasm for this delicious music is understandable and came over in a performance that was well-liked by most members of an audience who were probably hearing Wesley's music for the first time. We are all looking forward with pleasure to the start of the new season on 29th August.

Reviewer:  Roy Tipping


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