Birmingham Post review of Central England Ensemble concert

Autumn 2015

“Then… a World Premiere: musician Tony Bridgewater’s Concert Piece for Piano and Strings was our evening’s indulgence. Again solo pianist Margaret Fingerhut approached the lilting lop-sided rhythmic patterns with steely vigour, plus seemingly endless octaves – an obstinate ostinato bemusing the audience, thankfully directed clearly by committed, and totally efficient conductor, Anthony Bradbury. This evening’s tour-de-force was Shostakovich’s 5th Symphony. A huge challenge for any orchestra. Opening with sensitive strings, it was obvious that hours of personal agonising had led to this splendid performance. Exposed pianissimo strings stopped the heart, with splendid solos from leader Anna Downes, woodwinds, and solemn inclusions from feisty brass. The heroic composer bravely paid tribute to Stalin’s 7 million executions 1935-1941… the intensity of his music being truly scary. Not for nothing did he always have a packed suitcase by his door for a hasty retreat. So… this performance certainly made one think.” 

Birmingham Post review of Central England Ensemble concert

Spring 2014
“Hungarian horn star Ondrej Vrabec took centre stage as soloist in the exhilarating new Andrew Downes Horn Concerto. Conductor Anthony Bradbury had obviously worked everyone thoroughly for this taxing work, therefore all evidently enjoyed the fanfares, echo phrases, catchy dance-rhythms, musical questions and answers. Thrilling woodwinds eventually led to a richly harmonic plainsong style and gentle sensitive solo lines. Complex rhythms teased in the exciting finale of this most accessible work, eventually finishing with the soloist’s triumphant ‘whoop’.” 

 

Birmingham Post review of Central England Ensemble concert

Spring 2008

"[On Tchaikovsky's Romeo and Juliet Fantasy Overture] The busy fugato passages were particularly well delivered under music director Anthony Bradbury... [On Puccini's Madama Butterfly] Under Bradbury's fluent conducting the CEE gave a flexible, attentive and sensitively-nuanced account of this, Puccini's most Wagnerian score... [On the Prelude from Wagner's Götterdämmerung] The orchestra played out of its socks for Bradbury, and the principal horn was stunning in Siegfried's Rhine Journey." 

Birmingham Post review of Central England Ensemble concert

Birmingham Post review of Central England Ensemble concert

Autumn 2004

"... an exhilarating account of Richard Strauss' Rosenkavalier Suite, where the CEE horns covered themselves with glory, strings came through the searching challenges commendably, and Anthony Bradbury shaped a fine sense of climax." 

 

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