The Adderbury Chamber Orchestra, directed by the outstanding violinist Martyn Jackson, performed their Candlelit Concert of 'great Baroque favourites' in the delightful SJE venue. The setting was perfectly prepared and splendidly atmospheric for this traditional concert, which has now been given in different venues and formats for over 25 years.
The orchestra this time was a group of ten talented players, strings and a harpsichord, who presented us with a programme of well-known delights, mostly beloved by Classic FM listeners. Handel's 'Arrival of the Queen of Sheba' from his oratorio Solomon started us off in grand style; then Corelli's Christmas Concerto ('Concerto Grosso in G minor', 'Fatto per la Notte di Natale') which was followed by two of Vivaldi's wonderful concertos, firstly the 'Concerto for 2 Violins in A Minor'. This was for me the highlight of the concert, utterly sublime. After this piece ended there was a break to let the music and the wine soak in.
The second half started with the second Vivaldi, the equally cheerful 'Concerto for 4 Violins in B minor', and they continued with Bach's 'Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring' (arranged for strings); Pachelbel's 'Canon in D major'; and finally Bach's 'Brandenburg Concerto 3 in G major'. What a joy to be there, sitting in that excellent acoustic, listening to such wonderful music played so well by these accomplished musicians. This was exciting music-making, and it was over far too quickly. I could have happily listened to it all again, but I settled for their encore of Bach's 'Air on a G String', and left into the chilly Iffley Road full of contentment, reflecting on those brilliant compositions, all given full recognition by the players. The programme notes were well-written, full of interesting details about the orchestra and the pieces. I'll certainly be looking out for next year's Candlelit Concert in the SJE brochure.