Mozart, helicopters and perspex make for a heady mix

Review by James Adlam

POSTED (16/3/02): SATURDAY'S performance by the London Mozart Players at Kingston Parish Church was notable for several reasons apart from the music.

One was the large perspex screen erected a few feet above the piano to deflect its sounds out to the audience, a device which was the brainchild of pianist and conductor Howard Shelley, who said this was its first time in use. In truth I could not notice much difference from my seat near the front.

Another unusual feature was the extremely loud helicopter which circled directly above the venue for some minutes in the middle of the concert and interrupted proceedings a little.

As for the music itself, Mr Shelley is an acknowledged master of this series of concerts and his annual return to Kingston is eagerly awaited by regular visitors. His prime offering this time was Mozart's Piano Concerto no. 19, which was no disappointment. With or without a perspex screen, Mr Shelley extracts the maximum dynamics from his instrument as he always pours all his energy and soul into his performances.

After playing a difficult solo piece on the piano, he would leap up to conduct the orchestra most enthusiastically for a few bars, then regain his seat just in time for his next cadenza.

The rest of the programme was equally good. David McCarroll, a young American student at the Yehudi Menuhin School, performed Beethovens Romance for violin and orcestra with an impressive depth of feeling which suggests he will be a great talent for the future.

The London Mozart Players also played Griegs Holberg Suite and Haydns Symphony no. 83, showing their usual technical flair with each.

The next concert by the Thames Concerts Society at Kingston Parish Church features an all-Mozart programme by the Hanover Band Wind Ensemble.

The concert opens with a special arrangement of the Magic Flute overture and the programme includes the well known Serenade for 13 Wind Instruments in the original version using a basset horn.

The Hanover Band is acclaimed as one of the finest period instrument orchestras in the world and more than 100 recordings are available on CD. It has made ten tours of the US and has performed in 15 countries since 1995.

The concert is at 8pm on Saturday, April 6 at Kingston Parish Church in the Market Place. Tickets cost from £10 to £17 with concessions and are available from Mrs Jane Wilby on 020 8224 1374, from callers to the Tourist Information Centre in Kingston Market Place or on the door from 7.15pm on the night.