Pleasant and refreshing, WASO’s Summer Classics concert was the ideal introduction to the year’s concert season. Some concertgoers – this critic included – might be finding it hard to shake the ‘summer holiday mode’ and pick up where we left off before the festive season. Luckily, WASO was more than accommodating, programming a fun array of sunny works and endlessly hummable tunes to gently coax us back into the concert hall.
Berlioz’s effervescent Roman Carnival Overtureset the tone for the rest of the evening beautifully, with WASO and conductor Benjamin Northey delivering crisp rhythmic energy in the opening statement. The subsequent slow section felt ever-so-slightly unsteady – Berlioz really doesn’t give the orchestra much time to process such rhythmic whiplash – but WASO’s tight energy promptly reasserted itself in the reinstatement of Berlioz’s cheeky compound rhythms. Particularly thrilling was the fugal sections towards the end of the overture, with each entry building on the momentum of that preceding it towards the crackling finish.
Though the orchestral forces were reduced for Vivaldi’s Summerfrom The Four Seasons, the rhythmic unity and force didn’t cease. Concertmaster Laurence Jackson – performing here in a soloist capacity – was...