FESTIVITIES CONCERT, Chichester Symphony Orchestra, ST.PAUL’S CHURCH, CHICHESTER

ARISA FUJITA, violin; HONOKA FUJITA, cello; CHICHESTER SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA; leader MARK HARTT-PALMER; conductor MICHAEL WALSH

BEETHOVEN Overture: Coriolan

BRAHMS Concerto for violin, cello and orchestra

TCHAIKOVSKY Symphony No 5

How fortunate we were to have London Guildhall Professor of Violin Arisa Fujita and her gifted sister Honoka perform in this year’s CSO Festivities Concert. They gave a most moving performance of Brahms’ wonderful double concerto and received committed support from the Chichester Symphony Orchestra. Technically first-class, the sisters got right inside the composer’s emotional world and brought out all the yearning passion of the opening allegro. Arisa’s sweet tone and beautiful soft playing was a notable feature of the tender andante, in which she and Honoka were clearly really listening to each other.

There was some particularly eloquent playing from the orchestra in the lyrical sections of the Coriolan overture. Conductor Michael Walsh had chosen a deliberate basic tempo, thereby bucking the trend of ever faster speeds in Beethoven’s orchestral works. It worked well, helping to emphasize the gravity of the Shakespeare drama that inspired the piece, and making the coda, which represents Coriolanus’ final exhaustion, more than usually effective.

Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony is a strikingly heart-on-sleeve, melodious work, and the audience was treated to a particularly grand performance of it. The highlight was the unforgettable slow movement, with songful playing from the winds and beautiful phrasing by the strings. John Peskett deserves a special mention for his lovely playing of the famous horn solo, and the whole brass section made a splendid job of the rousing finale.

Phil Jenkins