Both works received performances on a lavish scale. DECO may be a chamber orchestra, but these were ‘big band’ interpretations in spirit. Tuttis were explosive, and the violins whirled brilliantly though the first movement waltz tunes. Nice, too, to hear Scriven making the most of the way Haydn ‘underlines’ his melodies with a single carefully chosen woodwind instrument. DECO’s first rate wind players sounded like they were enjoying every note. Occasional touches of period style heightened the effect.
In the brooding introduction to Prague symphony, the strings sparing use of vibrato let Scriven draw out the dark undercurrents of Mozart’s woodwind writing – and again, in the astonishingly modern harmonies that subvert the first movement’s development section. Too many conductors treat these powerful and demanding symphonies as oversized chamber music. These big, stirring performances put that straight.
… A fortnight short of its first anniversary, DECO is playing with rather more than just total professionalism