Nicholas Daniel shot to fame upon winning the BBC Young Musician of the Year competition with Vaughan Williams’ oboe concerto, and here he returns to the work on a disc of luscious English pastoralism. Suffusing its lyricism with wistful longing, Daniels gives a performance both reflective and robust. He handles the juxtaposition of lyrical and scherzo-like material with élan, integrating both into a sweeping arch to poignant effect.
A characteristically wide-ranging programme from the Britten Sinfonia marked the release of their new disc. Naturally, Dmitry Sitkovetsky’s arrangement of the Goldberg Variations were at the heart of the strings-only programme, which also featured works by Locatelli, Hans Abrahamsen and a world première from London-based Tom Coult. However, the success of the interpretations greatly varied, resulting in a concert which piqued interest but did not necessarily satisfy.
It seems odd that a concert based around Mozart should leave one cold. The pivotal figure of the Britten Sinfonia’s “Kaleidoscopes” concert is known for the humanity, warmth and charm of his music. In tribute, the ensemble presented a programme of Kurtág, Adams and Tavener, three composers for whom Mozart has been an important influence. With exception of the Kurtág though, the Britten Sinfonia’s performances seemed oddly passionless, leaving me frustrated.