REVIEW: Tribute to musical pair ends with a rousing finale

Fiori's star violin and soloist, Kerstin Linder-Dewan
Fiori's star violin and soloist, Kerstin Linder-Dewan
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Beauchamp Sinfonietta, Memorial Concert for Rita Dawkins and her husband John,
Guy Nelson Hall, September 13

An exceptional musical talent, a great friend, good listener, modest and always with a twinkle in her eye is how Rita Dawkins will be remembered by colleague musicians.

They have played tribute to her roles with the Beauchamp Sinfonietta, Oriflamme ensemble, Warwickshire Symphony and Leamington Chamber Orchestras.

And how well they combined to offer compositions reflecting Rita’s encouragement of young musicians and conductors, the depth of her musical understanding and appreciation of the classics.

Weber’s Overture Der Freischute gave Richard Laing the opportunity to provide the opening sparks with a typically enthusiastic and accomplished performance putting clarinettists Sue Shields and Veronica Watson in the spotlight with their strong confident playing.

Leslie Watts, one of many set alight by Rita’s support, paid her own tribute in Brahms’s Horn Trio, a seldom heard pleasure bringing together Anton Rosenfield’s horn and Antoine Mitchell’s never overwhelming piano.

Nic Fallowfield led a second half of contrasts – Mozart’s Piano Concerto No 23 with Colin Druce and Elgar’s Enigma Variations separated by a hugely enjoyable contribution from Rita and John’s saxophonist daughter Melanie, with Pärt’s Fratres, full of tone.

It was no surprise the Elgar proved to be a fitting climax to the memorial concert – at all times an opportunity to remember lost friends.

Clive Peacock