It is well known that it does not rain if you close the car windows. I am afraid, therefore, to say too much about what sounds like a new “high” in orchestral playing in Bulawayo in case it should cause a similar effect.
The concert for Bulawayo Music Club last night by the Intimate Symphony Players, led by Hugh Fenn, was distinguished by the same crisp, attentive playing that made the last concert by the Municipal Orchestra so pleasurable.
Slow movements in 18th century music are a good test. Playing intended to be expressive so easily degenerates into a turgid, porridgey wail. Firm in attack, with sharply etched ornamentation and phrasing, the players avoided this danger without any loss of emotional weight.
The steady rhythmic impetus of the two allegri in the Symphony by Fasch enabled this confident music to deliver its message in just the right way, with the sudden dynamic contrasts deftly pointed. This was honest and effective.
The generally enterprising programme included a sprightly reading of Handel’s Arrival of the Queen of Sheba from the oratorio Solomon and two movingly played experts from Walton’s music for Henry V.