Rousing ESO performance

Mayor and Mayoress with ESO conductor Graham Jones and cello soloist Indira Grier.
Mayor and Mayoress with ESO conductor Graham Jones and cello soloist Indira Grier.
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ROBIN GREGORY reviews Eastbourne Symphony Orchestra’s concert at St Saviour’s Church on June 23.

A rousing performance of the overture to Glinka’s opera Ruslan and Ludmilla was the best possible scene-setter for a memorable interpretation of Elgar’s anguished Cello Concerto. Eighteen-year-old Indira Grier, a finalist in this year’s ESO’s Young Soloist Competition, displayed a mature command of this challenging work which drew especially fine playing from the orchestra, conducted by Graham Jones.

Elgar wrote this concerto just after the 1914–18 war, and his sorrow at the loss of friends and companions is evident in every note.

Histrionics have no place here and Indira was, throughout, deeply involved in the tragic dignity of this noble work.

After the interval, Schumann’s first symphony was an interesting choice.

Like the Russian overture that opened the concert, it dates from the early 1840s. But it is a far more problematical work.

Its complexities have proved a real problem for conductors and orchestras ever since, leading to complaints that the composer was a poor orchestrator.

Graham Jones opted mainly for somewhat slow tempi in the first movement but, once the Scherzo arrived, this ravishing music seemed to acquire wings. And the final movement carried the concert to a really satisfying conclusion .