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BBC Young Musician of the Year Laura van der Heijden performs solo at Maidstone Symphony Orchestra concert

Maidstone Symphony Orchestra

Mote Hall, Maidstone, November 28

Review by Dr Brian Hick

On Saturday night, Brian Wright brought together four late romantic works which complemented each other with their respective approaches to narrative.

In Richard Strauss’ Don Juan the episodes and emotional turmoil of the Don’s life were clearly displayed for us. There was some splendid playing from the horn section, and throughout the sense of pace and tone colour was finely etched.

It was a real pleasure to welcome back Laura van der Heijden as soloist in Walton’s Cello Concerto. It was with this work that she won the BBC Young Musician of the Year in 2012, and her approach has deepened and gained even more captivating warmth. She brought a joyous spontaneity to the second movement and led us through the more introvert solo passages of the final movement with ease and conviction.

Albert Roussel is hardly a household name, but the suite from his ballet The Spider’s Banquet is more than just a charming rarity. The writing sits comfortably between Debussy’s romantic web-spinning and the intensity of early Stravinsky. Brian Wright drew our attention to these as we easily followed the story of the life and death of the insects.

In the South is Elgar at his most extrovert, and his concert overture sits well beside Strauss’ Don Juan. There is little English melancholy here and a great deal of extravagant rushing about. Yet at the heart of the work is the melting viola solo – wonderfully played by David Hesketh – which could only be by Elgar.

A splendid evening – would that there had been even more there to enjoy it.

The next concert on 30 January brings us Nielsen, Mozart and Dvorak – for details visit


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