London Schools Symphony Orchestra

William Tell – Overture
Violin Concerto in E minor, Op.64
Till Eulenspiegels lustige Streiche, Op.28
La valse – poème choreographique

Matthew Trusler (violin)

London Schools Symphony Orchestra
Peter Ash

Reviewed by: Kenneth Carter

Reviewed: 23 September, 2009
Venue: Barbican Hall, London

The atmosphere was crowded and jolly. Mother and fathers, brother and sisters, schoolmates and friends turned out in force to acclaim the members of the London Schools Symphony Orchestra. A further cause for joy was news that the Centre for Young Musicians, which fosters the LSSO had, this day, become officially associated with the Guildhall School of Music.

In the ‘Overture’ to “William Tell”, pastoral sections were handled gently and demurely, ensuring that the woodwind wafted without mishap, and the vigour and call of the hunting horns fired the occasion blazingly – a triumph of precision and display.

Matthew Trusler. ©Sheila RockMendelssohn’s E minor Violin Concerto was gentle and lyrical, tripping and gentle, forward-moving but not rushed. Matthew Trusler played with a suave, effective bow – rather retiring. He lent the occasion an understated brilliance of display, often leaving the field to the youngsters’ fluency.Till Eulenspiegel was deliciously earthy. The LSSO relished Strauss’s forthright colours, giving opportunity especially to the horn and clarinet, ably displaying the two main aspects to Till’s character – the Clown and the Trickster. Performers throve on Strauss’s sudden changes of tempo, enjoying the mayhem as the cart wrecked the market place and the atmosphere, darkening and heavy, marking Till’s beheading – not to mention the piercing truculence of his spirit’s re-incarnation.

The contrast between playing this and then the steely elegance of La valse must have been an extraordinary experience for these youngsters. Rightly, Peter Ash showed La valse to be a precise piece of writing, intermittent depicting veils and vagueness, through waltz-like surges, rather than the cloudy, spineless effusion often presented.

What a variety of styles, what a variety of paces, Peter Ash put the LSSO through in these four disparate pieces! His conducting was a model of clarity and indication of the mood required. The LSSO rose to each challenge splendidly.

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