Lakeland Sinfonia Westmorland Hall, Lakes Leisure Kendal The Lakeland Sinfonia Concert Society recently presented a programme featuring music by three of England’s finest 20th Century composers – Vaughan Williams’s Five Variants of Dives and Lazarus, Finzi’s Clarinet Concerto Op 31 and George Butterworth’s Idyll: The Banks of Green Willow. The strings of the Lakeland Sinfonia, under the practiced direction of Wyn Davies, guided us through VW’s pastoral delights with playing that was always sonorous, nicely-blended and imbued with a lovely mellow quality. In the Concerto the strings (again) accompanied sensitively with strong rhythmic confidence in the outside movements and appealing wistfulness during the elegiac middle movement. Throughout they created a confident partnership with their soloist, Mark van de Wiel; whatever the nature of his role, be it lyrical or dramatic, pastoral or virtuosic, he was thoroughly at home and invariably sang with beautiful tone. Butterworth inspired further rural enchantment with woodwind contributions now heightening our pleasure.

A contrasting Viennese masterpiece – Haydn’s Symphony No 99 – concluded the evening. Authentic classicalism prevailed; there was poise, sprightliness, rhythmic drive, satisfying woodwind and brass input and evidence of hard work and detailed rehearsal.

Brian Paynes