The Chelsea Pensioners’ Appeal

Le nozze di Figaro – Overture
Violin Concerto in E minor, Op.64
Overture to Coriolan
Symphony No.4 in A, Op.90 (Italian)

Diana Galvydyte (violin)

The New Professionals Orchestra
John Farrer

Reviewed by: Colin Anderson

Reviewed: 31 October, 2007
Venue: The Chapel of the Royal Hospital Chelsea, London SW3

The New Professionals. © series of concerts takes place regularly in aid of the Chelsea Pensioners’ Appeal and does so in the splendid surrounding of the Christopher Wren-designed Chapel that is further adorned by Sebastiano Ricci’s striking painting of the Resurrection and, from a musical point of view, excellent acoustics.

This concert, an attractive collection of works, was certainly enjoyable – and left a capacity audience (the Chapel seats about 500 people) more than satisfied. That said, given the justified reputation of The New Professionals (“London’s most distinguished young artists at the start of their careers”), the playing wasn’t the last word on unanimity of tuning and ensemble, especially amongst the violins. Commitment and musicianship were of a high order, though.

Diana GalvydyteThroughout the evening John Farrer chose ideal tempos, the overture to ‘Figaro’ being of shapely rather than harried expression, the playing spirited. Mendelssohn’s evergreen Violin Concerto lacked co-ordination between soloist and orchestra and within the latter, but was also appealingly Romantic and very expressive, Diana Galvydyte (from Vilnius) was vivid in fast passages, heartfelt in slow ones, if not free of intonation problems. While less vibrato would have suited the Andante (and would have brought a much-needed contrast to the intense projection of the first movement) and a lighter touch would have allowed the finale greater sparkle if not more fizz, Galvydyte lacks nothing in confidence and poise and with a greater range of timbre (and dynamics) should become a violinist ‘to watch’.

Coriolan and the ‘Italian’ Symphony made a contrasting pair, the former admirably paced, lyrically affecting and heroically tragic, the final demise coldly charted. Mendelssohn’s sunny work enjoyed a spacious and articulate outing in the first movement (exposition repeated) and culminated with a finale that caught the dance-mood through stealth rather than speed. Although the strings continued to lack a true sense of ensemble, the woodwinds beguiled and picked out unexpected details.

The Royal Hospital Chelsea is an imposing building in impressive grounds and is home to many ex-servicemen; hopefully their wellbeing will continue to be supported – events like this can only help.

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