Sinfonia Cymru, Dora Stoutzker Hall

31 October 2011

A training orchestra of sorts, Sinfonia Cymru bridges the gap between student and professional by providing young players with orchestral performance opportunities alongside high-profile soloists. Young performers tend to have an energy not always present with more seasoned players professional players, and this was certainly noticeable in this performance.

Given the late start time of 8pm, the programme was quite long and a few audience members did slip out before the final piece. Two symphonies and a piano concerto were packed in alongside the shorter Serenade for Strings by Dag Wirén, which rode along with joyful spirit in line with it’s folk-like style and tonality.

The first of the symphonies, Haydn’s No 83, opened enthusiastically and ended with triumphant gusto, though with a slump in energy during the central movements. Llŷr Williams then joined the players to perform Mozart’s Piano Concerto No 27. As usual, he brought a technically brilliant performance, with just the right amount of depth and expression for the work. Williams is a fascinating pianist to watch, as he cares for every phrase and expresses far more widely than just with fingers on the keyboard.

The programme was concluded with another Haydn symphony, No 85 in B flat major, into which the orchestra launched with almost joyous abandon. This was an enjoyable performance right through to the racing finale which, although taken at quite a pace, was as accurate and thrilling as could be demanded.

Overall the playing was excellent, the odd slip in synchronicity and some unloved ends of phrases aside, and all in all a very enjoyable evening. The players are obviously learning the ways of a professional orchestra and this is occasionally apparent in their manner and enthusiasm but they make a really excellent sound together, something that was only enhanced by the acoustics of the wonderful Dora Stoutzker Hall.