Bath Festival Orchestra at Cadogan Hall


The strings are tighter, the principal winds are good and the BFO’s on-stage presence more disciplined. Not everything was perfect tonight, but it was heartfelt. Bath Festival Orchestra thrived in a heartfelt Czech Suite – undoubtedly the highpoint of the evening – and delivered where it mattered in the Beethoven Emperor Concerto. They’ve also, crucially, found their ideal concert venue – Cadogan Hall. The acoustic supports the taut articulation in the strings and sweet perky woodwind. Kudos too for some savvy programme notes (including nifty QR code). I’d like to see this plucky band punch above its weight and book more high profile talent (soloist + guest conductor) for what could be billed as a ‘jam session’. The players proved themselves this evening as responsive and hard working. Now I want to see them *really* put to the test collaborating with top end creatives happy to give up their night off in London. They could easily pitch themselves as musicians who are happy to fly by the seat of their pants – far more hardcore than those commanded to play from memory. Shorten the run time and concentrate on the crowd pleasers and the BFO are on their way.