BBC Concert Orchestra at Chichester Festival Theatre

Tom Chambers as Bobby in Crazy For You. Picture by Richard Davenport

REVIEW: Crazy For You, at Mayflower Theatre in Southampton

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A programme described by radio presenter Louise Fryer as a journey down the Danube might more accurately have been billed as a journey towards suitable musical territory for the orchestra.

It is certainly a versatile body but it was notably less expressive in the first item, Haydn’s Symphony No 104, than in the barnstorming finale, Enescu’s Romanian Rhapsody No 1.

That might have had something to do with the dry acoustics not suiting Haydn, but in any case the symphony lacked the communicative power created elsewhere.

Principal horn Stephen Bell achieved a compelling mix of bravura and lyricism in the first Richard Strauss concerto, and the whole orchestra then moved up another gear to revel in the ebullient virtuosity of music by Smetana and Kodaly before raising the roof with Enescu.

Kodaly’s Hary Janos suite was preceded by some entertaining dialogue between Ms Fryer and Austrian conductor Johannes Wildner, and the performance was striking in both earthy rumbustiousness and the playing of the Hungarian cimbalom.

A generous programme, ultimately played with generous enthusiasm and elan.

MIKE ALLEN