The concert opened with the strong powerful chords of Mozart’s Fantasia in F minor. The strings moved as one throughout the work and the pure and beautiful sounds of Osmialowski’s flute filled the hall. Second on the program was the 2011 work Riffraction by Grandison and features riffs inspired by the rhythmic language of pop and funk music. The strings and piano frequently set up a groove against which Rowden on the clarinet superbly explored the energy and rhythmic drive of the work. The first half concluded with Connessons’ Sextet. The first movement, “Dynamic”, is a series of variations characterised by fast paced rhythmic process. The performers delivered a high level of energy to these variations, maintaining the excitement right to the end of the movement. The second movement, “Nocturnal”, once again saw Rowden play marvellously, especially against the sonorous tones of Henery on the double bass. The final movement before interval, entitled “Festivities”, was reminiscent of a party or fair, and the performers sent the audience into the break with a light hearted feeling.
Following intermission, the ensemble performed Britten’s Sinfonietta. The winds masterfully blended and the resulting sonority with the strings filled the hall. Throughout the work the interplay between the different performers was superb, particularly the violin duo, which was both beautiful and haunting, made even more so by the near silence of the hall. For the final work of the concert, Elgar’s Cello Concerto, the Omega Ensemble welcomed Dutch cellist Teije Hylkema to the stage. From the first chord Teije held the audience’s attention with his commanding stage presence and sonorous and expressive performing. Following the outstanding performance of the Elgar, Hylkema delighted the patrons with a movement from Bach’s first cello suite. Altogether a very varied and engaging program from the Omega Ensemble with beautiful and expressive performing. Congrats to all involved.