All concerts take place at Petersfield Festival Hall except for the recitals in St Peter’s Church on Tuesday lunchtime and Wednesday evening.

Edward Thomas Centenary Exhibitions

Two exhibitions will be open during the Festival: new images by Petersfield Photographic Society, inspired by Edward Thomas’s life and work; and books and documents from the collection held by Petersfield Museum, together with items from the national Edward Thomas archive.

Edward Thomas 1878–1917: A Centenary Concert

Friday 17 March
7.30 pm

A Centenary Commemoration
Choral and solo settings of poems by Edward Thomas and his friends, and music mentioned in his writings. Poets include Edward Thomas, Robert Frost, Walter de la Mare, W H Davies and Eleanor Farjeon. Music by Ivor Gurney, Peter Warlock, Randall Thompson, Michael Hurd, Arnold Bax, Cecil Armstrong Gibbs, Mervyn Horder and others.

Vox Cantab
Jonathan Willcocks, conductor

Bedales Cecilia Consort
Nicholas Gleed, director

Richard Pearce, piano
Frances Kelly, harp
Judith Treggor, flute

John Barker, baritone
Helen Cawthorne, piano
John Lofthouse, baritone
Catherine White, soprano
Thomas Athorne, tenor
Piers Burton-Page, reader
Philip Young, commentary

Edward Thomas Centenary Concert Sponsors

Review by Mike Cope

The Petersfield Musical Festival opened on Friday 17 March with an Edward Thomas centenary concert, to mark the 100th anniversary of the poet’s death at the Battle of Arras on Easter Monday 1917.

Edward Thomas once famously remarked in his 1909 book ‘The South Country’: ‘I prefer “All round my hat” and “Sumer is icumen in” to Beethoven’. His youngest daughter, Myfanwy, recalls sitting on her father’s knee wrapped in a blanket, whilst he sang her favourite song ‘O father, father, come build me a boat’, and the sea shanties he had learnt from one of the crew of Shackleton’s Polar expedition. When compiling ‘The Pocket Book of Poems and Songs for the Open Air’, in 1907, he sought out the most authentic words and tunes from folk song collectors like Cecil Sharp, and supplied musical notation for lesser known songs.

This presents a challenge for a musical festival, steeped in the classical and choral tradition, on how to commemorate a poet with a passion for folk music? Any concert in his honour would need to take account of his musical preferences and this is precisely what the organisers of the Petersfield Musical Festival have done. By taking the folk tunes Thomas sang to his children and choosing arrangements for choir, piano, harp and flute, they remained true to festival tradition, whilst acknowledging Thomas’s folk roots.

Choral and solo settings of poems by Thomas’s contemporaries (Walter de la Mare, Eleanor Farjeon, Robert Frost and W. H. Davies) comprised the first half of the concert. Three poems from ‘The Nursery Rhymes of London Town’, by Eleanor Farjeon - set to music by Mervyn Horder - were particularly pleasing. These were interspersed with choral arrangements of traditional folk songs Thomas would have known and loved, such as ‘The Minstrel Boy’ and ‘The True Lover’s Farewell’. The Musical Director and Festival Chair, Philip Young, introduced the pieces with an insightful script and masterly oration.

During the interval there was an opportunity to view photographs, inspired by the life and works of Edward Thomas, taken by members of the Petersfield Photographic Society. Books and documents relating to Edward Thomas, from the recently acquired collection at the Petersfield Museum, were also on display.

The second half of the concert was given over to musical arrangements of Thomas’s own poetry by of Ivor Gurney, Michael Hurd, Tarik O’Regan, William Agnew and others. These were mainly choral arrangements by 20th century classical composers. One of the standout songs was Agnew’s ‘Thaw’, sung by the Bedales Cecilia Consort, directed by Nicholas Gleed. The avant-garde musical arrangement - with brooding cellos, and voices that seemed to hang endlessly in the air – appeared to suit the mood of the poem. Another highlight, ‘The Great Silence’, by Tarik O’Regan, saw the Vox Cantab choir, conducted by Jonathan Willcocks, deliver some haunting harmonies .

There were readings of Thomas’s own poetry by Piers Burton-Page, a former BBC radio 3, producer, presenter and editor. Someone commented that his rendition of ‘As the Team’s Head-Brass’ was ‘one of the finest they had ever heard’.

The question we are left with is - what would Edward Thomas have made of it all? Unlike Frost, who rarely allowed any musical arrangements of his work, Thomas would probably not have minded either way. It seems from his writings that he never expected to be remembered at all. In one of his poems, he remarked: ‘What will they do when I am gone? It is plain that they can do without me, as the rain can do without the flowers and the grass’. How the passage of a 100 years has proved him wrong! His poetry had barely got going when he was killed in action on the Western Front on Easter Monday 1917. This commemorative concert was a wonderful idea and a fitting memorial to the Steep poet who became one of the founding fathers of contemporary British poetry.

Mike Cope

Mendelssohn: Elijah

Saturday 18 March
7.30 pm

Abigail Broughton, soprano
Louise Mott, mezzo soprano
Edward Hughes, tenor
Gary Griffiths, baritone

Alton, Rogate and Petersfield Choral Societies

Southern Pro Musica
Conductor: Paul Spicer

Review by David Francombe

Mendelsohn’s ever popular Elijah was given was given a vibrant performance at the Festival Hall last Saturday by the combined Festival Chorus, soloists and Southern Pro Musica under the baton of maestro Paul Spicer. Elijah is an interesting work in that each half could almost stand on its own with two separate story lines. The libretto is austerely Lutheran and gloomily Old Testament and it is the genius of Mendelssohn’s writing that lifts this into the front rank of the oratorio genre.

The Festival chorus gave it their all; splitting into double choir mode on occasions, there was some excellent ensemble singing. I particularly liked the “yet doth the Lord see it not” chorus with a splendid climax and a beautiful Grave section, “For he, the Lord our God, he is a jealous God” and the Classic FM favourite, “He that shall endure to the end” given a gentle and beautifully phrased performance. The “big” choral numbers were tackled with confidence and aplomb and came over forcefully but were on occasion overcome by the big battalions of the brass department. This is not a criticism of either the singers or the brass, more a failing of the Festival Hall itself.

Of the four soloists, Gary Griffiths was outstanding. His bearded, physical stature was just right for Elijah and he has a magnificent voice to go with this. From the opening flourish, “As God the Lord of Israel liveth”, via the glorious “Lord God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel” through to his final “For the mountains shall depart,” Griffiths was in complete control and command.

The soprano, Abigail Broughton, has a lyrical voice, well-suited to this work; her duet with Elijah, and backed by the chorus, “O Lord Thou hast overthrown” was particularly accomplished as was her aria opening part two, “Hear O Israel” (though, as in several of the solos, the word ‘Israel’ sounded affected in the Latinate pronunciation ‘Is-rah-el’; the English version ‘Is-ray-el’ would have been preferable). In passing I wondered what the Victorian burghers of Birmingham would have made of a woman singing, “I am thy God”!

The other two soloists, Louise Mott, mezzo, and Edward Hughes, tenor, had much less to do – but what they did do was fine. They came together in the penultimate number, the quartet, “O come everyone that thirsteth” and blended beautifully in a lovely quiet concluding moment.

And over all, Paul Spicer presided with his accustomed quiet charm; always in control, one knew that ‘all manner of thing shall be well.’

It was an excellent evening.

David Francombe

Family Concert

Sunday 19 March
3.00—4.00 pm

W A Mozart: Divertimento K. 136 (first movement)
J S Bach: Badinerie
Leroy Anderson: Plink, plank, plunk
Klaus Badelt: Pirates of the Caribbean medley
Saxophone solos from The Jungle Book
Flanders and Swann: The Hippopotamus Song
Camille Saint-Saëns: Carnival of the Animals

SouthDowns Camerata
Director: Sara Deborah Struntz-Timossi
Mark Dancer and Emilie Capulet, pianos
Compere: John Whitaker

Meet the players and their instruments after the concert. 

Review by Steve Sargent

There were plenty of animals in the Petersfield Festival Hall on Sunday as the Petersfield Musical Festival reached out to a couple of hundred children of all ages in its 'Family Concert'. Keeping so many children entertained and interested for a solid hour of music is a tall order but the expert playing of the SouthDowns Camerata, pianists Mark Dancer and Emilie Capulet, and percussionists Nik Knight and Liz Barker, all supported by the crafted and erudite narration of John Whittaker, was very successful.

The programme began with a demonstration of the various instruments on hand and delved immediately into the 'quality' end of the repertoire, with a bright Mozart divertimento for strings and Bach's brief and famous Badinerie for flute, played with great agility by Helen Walton.

Plink, Plank, Plunk, in which all the stringed instruments were plucked instead of bowed, was a welcome contrast, in Leroy Anderson's unmistakeable 1950s style. This was followed by Sally Cartwright's rendition of three Jungle Book songs, each on a different type of saxophone – such a happy moment that I Wanna Be Like You elicited spontaneous off-beat clapping, so rare amongst audiences.

A selection from Pirates of the Caribbean was greeted with much applause, as the young audience enjoyed something very familiar and the Flanders and Swann Hippopotamus song gave everyone the chance to join in with the mud-wallowing chorus.

Then came the serious business of Saint-Saëns' Carnival of the Animals. We were treated to all fourteen movements, each depicting a different animal and performed with a great mix of professionalism and humour. Sadly, the one hour allotted for the concert (and the children's attention span) was fast running out, and it might have been better to run only the best-loved movements like the Swan, the Elephant, the Aquarium and the Fossils. A short over-run is the price we pay for the performers' enthusiasm to include as much as possible in the programme.

And there is yet more to come: the printed programme alerted us to the rich and varied menu in the forthcoming Spirit of Music Festival, another splendidly inclusive initiative of the SouthDowns Camerata and their many friends. How fortunate we are to have so many professional musicians living in our midst, giving freely of their talents and enthusiasm in this annual festival held in Liss and Petersfield. It's something not to be missed at the end of April.

Youth Concert

Monday 20 March
7.00 pm

Singers and instrumentalists from local schools and youth music organisations.

Lunchtime Recital

Tuesday 21 March
1.00 pm
St Peter’s Church

Award-holders from the Michael Hurd Memorial Fund

Jonathan Mitra, trumpet
Rosalind Sheppard, piano
Victoria Puttock, saxophone

Ensemble Reza

Wednesday 22 March
7.30 pm
St Peter’s Church

Bach: Chaconne for solo violin
Haydn: String Quartet op. 76 no. 3 (‘Emperor’)
Beethoven: ‘Kreutzer’ Sonata (first movement) arr. for string quintet
Mendelssohn: Octet

Review by Ann Pinhey

Ensemble Reza is a flexible group of very accomplished musicians. When I last heard them in Petersfield it consisted of piano, clarinet and cello. Tonight we heard a double string quartet, essential for their performance of the Mendelssohn Octet which was the highlight of the evening. The eight players stood while playing this magnificent work, written when the composer was 16. The performance was fresh and buoyant with moments of great sonority.

Haydn’s Emperor String Quartet was played with warmth and affection, but the first violin lacked a little bloom.

The first movement of Beethoven’s Kreutzer sonata was performed in an arrangement for string quintet. This arrangement was published anonymously, but it worked well. The texture was rich and vibrant.

The concert opened with Bach’s famous Chaconne from his D minor Partita.  It is one of the longest and most challenging pieces for solo violin. Lucy Jeal’s performance was somewhat wayward and began tentatively with insecure intonation. It needed a firmer structural grip. The counterpoint was not always clearly defined and the build up was somewhat laboured.  For this reviewer, it was not the best work with which to start a concert.

Overall, the concert was too long – it finished at 9.50 – and the pauses between each piece were excessive. The performers seemed rather self–indulgent and certainly should not have ended the concert with a light-hearted piece, whose title I did not hear. The excellent performance of the Mendelssohn Octet did not need an encore!

Youth Concert

Wednesday 22 March
7.00 pm

Singers and instrumentalists from local schools and youth music organisations.

Youth Concerts Review by Philipa Yugin-Power

This week I had the pleasure of being able to observe the high standard of young musical talent in the Petersfield area at the Youth Concerts, where over 140 singers and 180 instrumentalists performed professionally in front of sell-out audience.

The programme started with ‘Songs and drumming from Africa’, the rhythms were catchy and the audience were warmed up and encouraged to join in ‘Oleo’ by the dynamic conductor Ben Harlen.  A small group of the choir were selected to sing, with their friends and audience responding with an answering call.  The Combined Schools Drumming Group directed by Kristian Bediiako accompanied the choir with a rousing beat.

Highlights from ‘Mary Poppins’ by the Combined Schools Wind Band delighted the younger members of the audience and the adults were astounded by the powerful voices of Kirsty Foreman and Adele Adkins in ‘Skyfall’.

The Festival is keen to encourage young composers, and three took on Wednesday night, all playing in their own pieces on a variety of instrumentation.  Katie Evan’s song, with guitar, violin and cello, was thoughtful, with imaginative lyrics whilst Molly Moran’s song she accompanied on the piano was highly emotional, with a powerful climactic section sung by Iona Meechan. Ella-Louise Green’s instrumental piece ‘Into the Storm’ for piano, two violins and flute built up the texture from a quiet beginning, with piano arpeggios and effective string pizzicato.

PASSO performed on Monday evening and many of the audience remarked on how young some of its members were.  This year’s members come from 12 different schools and aged 7 – 16.  They presented a varied group of pieces ranging from Handel’s ‘Menuet’ from ‘Music for the Royal Fireworks’ to the contrasting pieces from ‘Day of The Dolphin’ by Edward Huws Jones. The audience were guided through these pieces effectively by Peter Thompson and relaxed as PASSO painted a picture of a calm sea, with dolphins leaping.  The more menacing, faster paced piece “Clear Water…Sharks!” needed no introduction as the violins clearly described the fear as sharks circled.

There was a clear change in scene as Hamish Newport conducted the Combined Schools Choir and Instrumental Ensemble for ‘Opera from around the world’.  The brass section were impressive in their rendition of Verdi’s ‘Triumphal Scene’ from Aida and the audience enthused about the professional sounding voices of Antonia Richards, Izzy Adams and Isabella Herraman-Stowers.

The Combined Schools Jazz Band directed by Helen Purchase and Natalie Voller gave a powerful performance of ‘Blues Brothers Revue’ with some inspirational solo performances and ‘I Want You Back’ got the audience and the children in the choir moving enthusiastically to the music.

The evenings ended with the Combined School Choir singing a selection of songs including a charming performance of ‘Puppet On a String’ with clear diction and a real sense of fun. The highlight of the evening for the audience was the obvious enthusiasm of the bank of children in the choir wearing a variety of school uniforms from 7 local schools coming together to make music.  When interviewed the children described how they had relished the opportunity to “work as a team with children from other schools”, “to learn a range of music and perform to the public”, and “to have fun!”

Many congratulations to all our young musicians and their teachers for two splendid evenings.  

Philipa Yugin-Power

The Petersfield Orchestra

Thursday 23 March
7.30 pm
Pre-concert talk
6.30 pm

Schubert: Overture in the Italian Style in D
Strauss: Horn Concerto no. 1
Delibes: Suite: Le Roi s’amuse
Delius: On Hearing the First Cuckoo in Spring
Mendelssohn: Symphony no. 4 (‘Italian’)
Soloist: Richard Steggall
Conductor: Christopher Braime

Meet the orchestra’s conductor, Christopher Braime, and horn soloist Richard Steggall when they discuss the programme with Piers Burton-Page at 6.30 pm on Thursday 23 March in the Festival Hall.

Review by Pierre Tran

In the space of just a few short months, Christopher Braime, the second of the Petersfield Orchestra’s three guest conductors this season, succeeded in imposing his own stamp on the orchestra, in the course of preparing a varied and alluring programme. That the orchestra grew apace under his leadership was evident from its manifest unity: the clarity of the various voices, the equilibrium of the dynamics and the rapport with the evening’s soloist.

This much was apparent from the Schubert’s Overture in the Italian Style, where the voices of clarinets and flutes in particular were allowed to expand in a manner reminiscent of Italian Bel Canto – the work being, as we could not help but be reminded, one result of Vienna’s new-found enthusiasm for all things Rossinian.

In the First Horn Concerto of Richard Strauss, soloist and orchestra were as one, helped by the talented Richard Stegall who combined sonorous projection with elegant musical articulations. The result was a genuine dialogue, with splendid moments when the orchestra rang out subtly, like a non-brassy fanfare.

In the Suite from ‘Le roi s’amuse’ by Delibes, Christopher Braime had evidently worked hard to underline the individual character of these six short pieces – their French titles evoking the song and dance of the seventeenth century, and slightly reminiscent also of the mazurkas of Chopin in the varied contours of their contrasting rhythms and timbres.

Delius’s exquisite miniature ‘On Hearing the First Cuckoo in Spring’ saw the conductor in a more relaxed mode: Christopher Braime underscored Delius’ fascination for Norway and that country’s bucolic allure. Perhaps he was guided by the well-known links between Delius and Edvard Grieg.

Perhaps only the final work in the concert did not come up to expectation, or maybe I am influenced by Otto Klemperer’s interpretation of Mendelssohn’s Italian Symphony with the Philharmonia Orchestra. In spite of Christopher Braime’s rhythmic strictness, the dynamic balance between piano and forte, and the calmness and precision of his direction – yet with no lack of overall bonhomie – for me, an element of fervour seemed lacking.

What a concert! Bravo to all concerned!

Pierre Tran

Jazz Night: Jonny Mansfield’s Elftet

Friday 24 March
7.30 pm

A spectacular ensemble of eleven rising stars from the Royal Academy of Music.

Review by David Jackman

A triumph for the “Elftet” and the Royal Academy

The annual Petersfield Musical Festival usually includes a ‘jazz-based’ evening for one of its concerts. This year they presented a group of students from the Royal Academy of Music conceived and led by the precociously talented Jonny Mansfield. His group, understandably, named “The Jonny Mansfield Elftet”, comprises eleven ‘gifted’ players. They presented a programme of original compositions – apart from one written by American vocalist Norah Jones – written and arranged by 20-year-old Jonny Mansfield. A near capacity crowd, not all jazz fans but fans of ‘good’ music, were with the orchestra from the opening number. It was nice to see the members of the Elftet dressed for the occasion unlike so many of their contemporaries.

The band’s line-up – vibes, trombone, trumpet/flugel, two saxes, cello, violin, bass, guitar, drums, vocals/flute – offered many options for Jonny’s compositions.

They opened with a piece called “Flying Kites”. A quiet opening with an oriental feel, developed rhythmically and harmonically into a multi-layered musical cake! Topped off by sympathetic solos from violinist Dom Ingham and guitarist Oliver Mason. The feel of the piece was reminiscent of the work of Maria Schneider. The soloists revived memories (to me) of Al Di Meola and Jean Luc Ponty. This was followed by the Norah Jones composition “Painter's Song”. A more conventional arrangement with echoes of the orchestras of the ‘swing era’, vocalist Ella Hohnen Ford sang it beautifully. “M & M” came next and this was the first of the split tempo pieces. Bouncing between three and four beats in a 12-note theme. The chord structure was subtle and straight forward leaving plenty of room for the front line to develop layers of harmonies culminating in fine trumpet solo by James Davison. The voice was used as an additional instrument adding more colour to the piece. Much in the same way Kenny Wheeler and Colin Towns used the great Norma Winstone. In “Chorale” the band showed their classical leanings with a free-form approach to the melody. Not an easy listen, but a good example of the abilities of this very talented ensemble. The first half closed with “Sailing” – NOT Rod Stewart's big hit – but another original from Jonny featuring a vocal from Ella. Once again the band ventured into a mixture of time signatures. Full of dynamics and harmonies again but, sadly, the vocal was lost in the mix. That apart, the first half was outstanding. Throughout the presentation Jonny explained what was being played and how the pieces came together in a very informative and personable way.

“Silhouette” opened the second half. A more avant garde composition but with an underlying structure that one could follow. Solos from Oliver Mason guitar and Tom Smith alto sax and Ella using the voice in unison with the horn section. The next piece was dedicated to Jonny's one time baby-sitter and next door neighbour Rita. An ‘old’ lady remembered with affection by Johnny. The tune “No Change At 48” was a duet with Jonny on vibes and Dom Ingham on amplified violin. One of the highlights of the evening, a poignant melody, it echoed Victorian parlour, folk and other genres of English music. A joy to listen to! Back to the Elftet for “Wings”. A slow foxtrot feel and a feature for bassist Daisy George who played the theme. A real ensemble piece, beautifully arranged, and a fine solo from saxophonist George Millard. “Falling” was a slow melodic piece and another vocal feature for Ella. The band segued into the samba-like “For You". This was the penultimate number and provided features for violin, trombone, bass, tenor and punchy ensemble playing. I haven't mentioned the outstanding contribution made by (local) drummer Boz Martin-Jones. He didn't play a featured solo in any of the pieces, but sustained an impeccable level of accompaniment for the orchestra to play on with total confidence. It was an object lesson in control and concentration.

And so to the last tune... “Present”, a ‘funky’ composition in the style of Jaco Pastorious and other 70s orchestras. An exciting piece the whole band played with relish and enthusiasm. Not surprising as they are ALL around twenty years of age!! Rapturous applause saw the band take a well deserved curtain call. I think it’s safe to say that the Jonny Mansfield Elftet has added a number of new admirers to their fan club! Remember these names... I am sure you'll be hearing a lot more of them in the near future! Ella Hohnen Ford – vocals & flute, James Davison – trumpet and flugel, Tom Smith – alto, tenor sax and flute, George Millard – tenor sax and bass clarinet, Rory Ingham – trombone, Dom Ingham – violin, vocals,  Laura Armstrong – cello, Oliver Mason – guitar, Jonny Mansfield – vibraphone, Daisy George – bass,  Boz Martin-Jones – drums.

Dvořák: Stabat Mater

Saturday 25 March
7.30 pm

Carrie-Ann Williams, soprano
Marvic Monreal, mezzo soprano
Hiroshi Amako, tenor
Michael Mofidian, bass
Fernhurst and Petersfield Choral Societies
Midhurst Music Society
The Petersfield Choir

Basingstoke Symphony Orchestra
Conductor: Paul Spicer

Review by David Francombe

I had wondered about the wisdom of programming two large scale romantic choral pieces, scored for nigh-on identical forces, at the beginning and the end of this year’s Petersfield Musical Festival, but the splendid performance of Dvořák’s opus 58 Stabat Mater at the final concert proved me wrong. 

The fifty strong Basingstoke Symphony Orchestra opened the work with a long introduction and I was struck with how well they followed the composer’s dynamics, from a hushed pp to a rousing ff and back, heralding in an excellent quiet entry by the tenors. The rest of the chorus followed and produced some very good four part singing, a trait which was continued throughout the work. The tenor soloist, Hiroshi Amako made a dramatic entrance and was shortly followed by the other soloists, Carrie-Ann Williams, Marvic Monreal and Michael Mofidian and the long, twenty minute, first section ended a well-rounded and exciting opening.

The second section, Quis est homo…. is handed to the four, well matched soloists.  If I have a quibble here, the composer marks the first few pages piano, which the quartet, in the main, ignored.  This was a pity because it left them nowhere to go and the bass’s climactic plunge from a high F sharp to a low C on For the sins of His own nation…..(Pro peccatis suae gentis..) didn’t have quite the thrill one would have liked.

Section three, Eia mater, belonged to the bases, telling the story with a rising five note motif and the rest commenting as a  backing group. This produced some excellent singing from the large choir.

After the interval we heard the splendid bass soloist, Michael Mofidian, in a deeply felt, Make me feel as thou hast felt…. (Fac ut ardeat cor meum…..) accompanied by angelic sounding upper voices.  This was followed by a 6/8 number for chorus and orchestra which positively danced along.  Section six has a Dvořákian “big tune” given to the tenor, Hiroshi Amako, again with choral backing.  Amako has a big operatic voice which, in the unforgiving Festival Hall acoustic, was occasionally a little harsh.  

Section seven, Virgin, of all virgins, blest…... gave the chorus a chance to shine, as much of the writing is unaccompanied, and shine they did.  Here was some warm, well balanced, chorale-like singing which was a joy to hear.  Sections eight and nine were given over to the soloists.  Soprano Carrie-Ann Williams joining  tenor  Amako for a touching Let me, to my latest breath…..Carrie-Ann has a lovely, warm rounded voice and this duet was nicely sung.  Dvořák doesn’t give the mezzo-soprano much to do until the penultimate number, Be to me, O Virgin, nigh…… and  Marvic Monreal took her opportunity with both hands and gave a big performance climaxing in the declamatory, Let the cross then be my guard….

Finally the works rounds off with a blaze of glory, with all forces going at it hammer and tongs and ending with a thrilling D major Amen – the key, as Piers Burton-Page’s excellent programme notes pointed out, beloved by Beethoven and Bach to depict Heaven.

As always, Paul Spicer’s calm, detailed direction ensured a splendid evening’s music.

David Francombe