The drama was then ramped up with a full orchestra joining the stage for Telemann’s great Water Music. Directed by principal baroque violin Ben Dollman, the piece’s sumptuous movements – at times majestic, occasionally humorous – were expertly manoeuvred. The piece, in 10 movements, earned unadulterated applause after the fantastic sixth, Harlequinade. The musicians graciously accepted.
A joyful, joyful night.
It is a thrilling thing to behold when classical audiences lose themselves enough to throw off the stuffy clapping practices of the concert hall: here they were so moved they clapped at the “wrong” time.
And finally, the moment we had all been waiting for, the Four Seasons. It’s a classic for a reason. The pacing is exceptional and the highs and lows have you consistently on the edge of your seat.
Of course, the concerto aspect requires a skilled soloist and leader – a challenging combination, but a role taken on with absolute aplomb by ABO concertmaster Shaun Lee-Chen. He was, at times, not only a conductor and soloist but a choreographer, his playing stylish and passionate.
Lee-Chen’s Four Seasons was outstanding, his movements bringing out the absolute best from the orchestra. A joyful, joyful night.