Another pair of contrasting concerts, this time by Southbank Sinfonia at St John’s Smith Square, showed the appeal of this kind of flexible model. It breaks the rigid, long-evening mould that, for travel, work or family reasons, can act as a concert deterrent. Twenty expert string players from this “orchestral academy” gave the first concert, incisively conducted by Owain Park. They swept buoyantly through works by Javier Álvarez, John Woolrich, Diana Burrell and Philip Glass.

Then came the woodwind, in a late concert that paired Mozart’s Gran Partita, K361 with Mark Simpson’s Geysir (2014), written for the same forces. The top international oboist Nicholas Daniel conducted the Simpson, bringing out the work’s gurgling, steamy lyricism, french horns and basset horns adding turbulent richness. Daniel had coached the players in the Mozart, an Everest of the repertoire, and it showed. Speeds were well judged, ensemble clean and rhythmic, all kept in check by the rising star clarinettist Oliver Pashley. The mystery of this glorious work shone through.

Fiona Maddocks, The Guardian

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