Christopher Adey conducted the Academy of St Thomas Orchestra in a sell-out concert of Beethoven, Brahms and Mendelssohn at St Andrew’s Hall in Norwich on 20th October, reviewed here by Frank Cliff.
“Scarcely an empty seat in St Andrew’s Hall for Saturday’s concert by the Academy of St. Thomas of familiar works from the orchestral repertoire. The justification for this was immediately apparent in conductor Christopher Adey’s reading of Beethoven’s Egmont Overture: powerful and tightly controlled until the final triumphant allegro con brio.
For many, I suspect, the main attraction was the Brahms Double Concerto, in which the distinguished soloists were the husband and wife team of violinist, Kanako Ito and Norfolk born cellist, Martin Storey. It was a richly rewarding performance, with well projected playing from the soloists in the opening movement, the powerful orchestral tuttis perfectly controlled by Adey’s always sympathetic conducting. The andante was warm and lyrical, with a well chosen flowing tempo for the opening melody and fine virtuoso playing from the two soloists in the Hungarian style rondo finale.
To end, a splendid performance of Mendelssohn’s Italian Symphony. Throughout, Adey’s choice of tempi were excellent; a fast, but not too fast, first movement, with sparkling winds and well disciplined strings, though it seemed a shame not to repeat the exposition. Balance between oboe, bassoon and viola in the opening melody of the slow movement was well nigh perfect, there was beautifully precise playing from horns and trumpets, and the finale was tremendously exciting.
Above all, the whole had that air of spontaneity which is the mark of really rewarding performance.”