Poor start but they recovered

Many rows of empty chairs were no doubt partly to blame for the dispirited playing of the Bulawayo Municipal Orchestra during the first half of last night’s symphony concert.

Slurred string playing gave the Scarlatti pieces an Elgarian droop, and in the slow movement of Mozart’s A major Symphony (No. 29) the violins lagged obstinately behind the beat which conductor Hugh Fenn tried to establish. Mozart’s youthful charmer never really came to life, but mostly sounded sluggish.

After interval (and a re-tuning) the orchestra gave a much more lively accompaniment to soloist Irene Richards’ forthright account of Mozart’s G major Violin Concerto K 216.

Miss Richards’ steady tone enabled her to weave a calmly lyrical line across the orchestral accompaniment in the Adagio, and to cope easily with the violin’s more assertive dialogue with the wind and strings in the first movement.

Vigorous playing in Carse’s arrangement of Georgian tunes closed the concert on a note of bucolic jollity.

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