I was very happy to return to The Oxford Sinfonia this year and to conduct a live concert with the orchestra on 16 October in St Mary the Virgin, Oxford. The programme of Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No 1, Mozart’s Symphony 29 and the remarkable Divertimento in D, K131 was a beautiful mix of two favourite works with one that many of the players were meeting for the first time.
In fact, we had plenty of time to prepare for this concert. Our planned summer concert had to be postponed but we were lucky to have two days of rehearsals with a play through on two hot summer days in July at the Village Hall in Beckley.
With thanks to Neil Halliday for his management of the concert, it was a pleasure to work with the orchestra. The Brandenburg Concerto featured Kate Bailey’s beautiful violin playing with Aldus Whitfield, Sarah Kendall and Matthias Winkel as a fine trio of oboists.
The orchestra’s horn section (Martin Priestley, Helen Newing, Samantha Dunwoody and Richard Todd) gave star performances in the Mozart Divertimento – a unique work from 1772 that also features solo parts for flute (Kate Roberts), oboe (Aldus Whitfield) and bassoon (Chris Grosvenor). In six movements with a dynamic opening Allegro and brilliant finale, the two minuet movements offer trios for the four horns alone, solos for flute and oboe and a trio for violas. There is a moving Adagio for strings, too, as well as a touching Allegretto movement featuring the flute and the oboe. A gem.
All best wishes to the Oxford Sinfonia for its future concerts.