Sunshine and glee from the Royal Northern Sinfonia at the Proms

Between the Classical bookends there was more coolness and shade.  Vaughan Williams’ Oboe Concerto is a stamina-fest for the soloist and Nicholas Daniel was more than equal to the challenges. The pastoral piping sang with honeyed sweetness, though the tone was never overly sumptuous, retaining a note of restraint, and Sousa reined back the sentimentality of the string colouring.  Not afraid to seek the most whispering pianos, Daniel’s projection into roomy auditorium was impressively penetrating.  In the Rondo pastorale he displayed an insightful awareness of how the lines unfold from musing and lyrical meandering to envigored dancing, the staccato accents of the latter punchy and bright.  And, Sousa let the strings unfold and wrap around the soloist’s melody, unobtrusively but with concision and focus.  There was a slight pungency to the Minuet, the strings’ counterpoint and pizzicato buoyant and pert; the Musette was more rustic and raucous, aptly so, letting in a flow of warm which flourished in the lyricism of the Finale’s Lento poetry – the latter bathing in an easy glow of summer sunshine.

Claire Seymour, Seen and Heard International, August 2022

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