Australia House, January 2017
MOZART Ch'io mi scordi di te? K 505
MOZART Piano Concerto No. 23 in A Major, K. 488
GRAINGER Handel in the Strand
COPLAND Appalachian Spring
CONDUCTOR Toby Thatcher
PIANO Jayson Gillham
SOPRANO Alexandra Oomens
By Lloyd Coleman
Ensemble Eroica, under the tireless leadership of its founder and Principal Conductor Toby Thatcher, is fast building a reputation as one of London’s most exciting orchestras for young professional musicians.
In their recent outing at the Australian High Commission, Toby’s infectious enthusiasm was on full display – both during his eloquent introductions and during the music itself. His feet left the floor more than once as he inspired playing of real verve and vigour.
Three of Toby’s fellow Australians joined as soloists for the evening. Soprano Alexandra Oomens opened with a beautifully tender account of Mozart’s Ch’io mi scordi di te? with pianist Joseph Havlat.
Jayson Gillham then took over the keyboard to perform Mozart’s Piano Concerto No.23 in A major. From the opening bars, Jayson gently swayed his head in time with the music (listening closely to the orchestral passages with his eyes closed) and from his first entry he played with clarity and total conviction. He treated us to a light-hearted encore too, in the form of Percy Grainger’s outrageously boisterous Handel in the Strand.
The concert closed with Aaron Copland’s Appalachian Spring ballet suite. Here, Toby and Ensemble Eroica evoked the vast American vistas with plaintive, sustained strings and a peppering of gorgeous wind solos.