Raw edged - but still romantic

Teenager Jacqui Martens gave an assured account of Bruch's Violin Concerto No 1 in G Minor
Teenager Jacqui Martens gave an assured account of Bruch's Violin Concerto No 1 in G Minor

Nicholas Simpson delighted a capacity audience at Square Chapel, Halifax with his coherent and transporting readings of three romantic masterpieces with the Halifax Symphony Orchestra, writes Julia Anderson.

Smetana’s Overture to The Bartered Bride, composed in 1866, starts with some fiendishly exposed and delicate orchestration for the strings which did sound rather fuzzy but the orchestra soon settled down to do full justice to its ebullient rhythms.

Bruch’s Violin Concerto No 1 in G Minor, composed two years later, is a quintessential romantic showpiece, full of engaging themes and challenging bravura writing.

Young Jacqui Martens, still a teenager, gave an assured, eloquent account of it, full of energy and spirit. She attacked its bold, opening statements, gave full yet always musical emphasis to its complex rhythms and muscular chording and savoured its moments of tenderness.

Raw-edged it may have been here and there, but overall it was a performance that was heartfelt and exciting, with the orchestra totally on her wavelength.

The concert concluded with Rachmaninov’s Symphony No 2 in E Minor, composed in 1902, its potentially diffuse musical fabric exuding sweeping romantic melodies and brooding Russian soul.