After 25 years attending orchestral concerts in Chichester Cathedral, I might finally have found the best place to sit.
Row V proved distant enough to hear a balanced sound but close enough to have that thrilling sense of contact with a symphony orchestra in full cry.
This was certainly the case in Elgar’s Enigma Variations where conductor David Hill delivered a long-breathed opening from which every shade of tonal colouring made its mark.
Every character in the composer’s array of musical portraits was deftly and flowingly sketched, with Nimrod given energy as well as grandeur, Ysobel charmingly evoked by Tom Beer’s viola solo, and clarinettist Kevin Banks achieving sustained softness in Romanza.
Jack Liebeck was a vivid soloist in Tchaikovsky’s violin concerto, with a magical whispered melancholy in the slow movement to complement fireworks elsewhere.
The concert began with Peer Gynt Suite No 1, where the delicacy of Grieg’s orchestration in Morning Mood was as effective as the trolls’ roistering.