ESO Chamber Concert held in Shrewsbury - review

Shrewsbury | Music | Published:

Shrewsbury’s St. Alkmund’s Church, with its warm acoustic, was the perfect venue for a concert given by Zoe Beyers and her colleagues from the English Symphony Orchestra.

Zoe Beyers

Zoe has won a special place in the hearts of Shrewsbury’s music lovers for her combined gifts of prodigious musical talent and a warm personality which allows no divide between performer and audience.

A String Sonata by Rossini opened proceedings. Rossini isn’t usually mentioned alongside Mozart and Mendelssohn as a child prodigy yet this glorious, sunny work was penned by the 12-year-old Rossini.

It was the perfect vehicle for these fine musicians who where clearly enjoying this lively piece. The refined rusticity of the lower strings were the perfect foil for Zoe’s silver-toned violin which gave a fore-taste of the brilliant tunes of Rossini’s mature compositions.

The Andante, the second movement, was a delight; the viola of Helen Sanders-Hewitt, Corinne Frost’s cello and the double bass of Dave Ayer worked brilliantly to provide an unctuous backdrop like a rich chocolate desert over which Zoe’s violin was like an exquisite sauce.

Surely the food metaphor is apt-did Rossini not bless the gourmet’s world with Tournedos Rossini?

The food reference carries on to the other work, for who can resist a well-cooked trout! Schubert’s masterpiece must be the best known and loved piece of chamber music in the entire repertoire which engages musicians and audience alike.

The group was joined by pianist Janine Parsons whose playing sparkled throughout – especially in the theme and variations.

The bass playing of Dave Ayer was a delight-he would surely be equally at home as a jazz musician with his full, rounded tone and meticulous rhythmic control.

Special praise is due to Dave for the way he stepped in at the last minute Just occasionally the cello and viola weren’t as audible as they might have been but that is a small criticism when set against the sheer delight of a glorious concert which brightened up a drab Monday afternoon.

Review by Andrew Petch

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