As an encore to his fine first-half performance of Mozart’s Piano Concerto No 12, Philip Fowke played a witty minuet by Paderewski – ‘in the style of Mozart, but only just,’ he said.
Fowke might have said of Richard Addinsell’s Warsaw Concerto, which ended the concert, that it was in the style of Rachmaninov... but only just.
Of course Addinsell’s pastiche for the war film, Dangerous Moonlight, is thunderously lush, and Fowke played it for all its worth, but the real artistry came in his quirky way with Mozart’s first-movement cadenza – and consistently in his interplay with the BBC orchestra.
Players sometimes struggled to adapt to the theatre acoustics but under Dutch conductor Jochem Hostenbach were particularly effective in catching the breeziness of Malcolm Arnold’s Brighton-inspired Sussex Overture, which seems merely blowsy on the composer’s own recording.
The other highlight was Elgar’s Wand of Youth Suite No 2, with woodwind full of character in Moths And Butterflies and in wittily contrasting portraits of Tame Bears, gently galumphing, and Wild Bears, thundering ferociously to the finish.