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Krek, Stravinsky, Rota & Dvorak

Uros Krek Rhapsodic dance for symphony orchestra; Stravinsky 'Jeux de Cartes'; N Rota's Trombone concerto; Dvorák's Symphony No 8 in G, Op 88.

The Maribor International Orchestra 2012/Ziva Ploj Persuh; Branimir Slokar, trombone.

St John's Smith Square, London, 2 August 2012

An enjoyable concert given at St John's en route for Spain by an annual international training orchestra*, built on similar lines to Pierre Boulez's Festival Academy at Lucerne.

The programme hand-out was very detailed indeed, telling us that Krek is one of the most performed Slovene composers, one who eschews "modern trends which are soon forgotten", with this modest piece "an efficient addition" as Overture on tour... Enjoyable enough, and quickly forgotten. The Stravinsky, one of his lesser played ballet scores and a brave choice, was a little stiff in execution. It has subtle allusions to Beethoven, J Strauss, Thchaikovsky, Ravel &c, most of which are as likely to be missed as spotted !

Dvorak's No 8 was given an idiomatic, confident and well received account under Ziva Ploj Persuh, greeted at the end with almost Olympics fervour by the smallish audience which brought together many ex-pat Slovenians, after which we all enjoyed their country's excellent wines and beers.

The best of the concert was, however, a surprise; Rota's skilfully constructed Trombone Concerto given by a truly brilliant soloist, who went on to give one of those encores that everyone knows but can't easily identify, supported by a brass group from the Maribor Orchestra, which is truly International with 18 countries represented, including one oboist from London's GuildhallSMD.

Peter Grahame Woolf

* The Maribor International Orchestra 2012 is a representative and ambassador of this year's European Capital of Culture, Maribor in Slovenia.