OVER 100 local primary school children were in the packed audience when world-famous violinist Tasmin Little began her 2016 world tour at Taunton’s St Mary Magdalene church last Saturday. The children, including a group from Bishop Henderson School (pictured), attended thanks to generous sponsorship from London music charity Orchestras Live.

Tasmin, who performs in iconic venues such as New York’s Carnegie Hall and the Sydney Opera House, drew a ‘sell-out’ audience from South West England, which the organisers claim was Taunton’s largest audience for a classical music concert since the closure of the Gaumont in 1982.

Joining Tasmin at St Mary Magdalene were the European Union Chamber Orchestra whose players are chosen from the ‘cream’ of musicians in each EEC member state. Directed by one of Germany’s top virtuoso violinists, Hans-Peter Hoffman, the orchestra opened the concert with Bach’s popular Brandenburg Concerto No. 3.

The applause that followed soon grew to a roar as Tasmin Little took centre stage in a dazzling, flowing emerald gown for the concert’s centrepiece Mozart’s Violin Concerto. Playing her Giovanni Battista Guadagnini violin, made in 1757, she stunned the audience with sheer brilliance and such world-class artistry that is rarely experienced in Taunton. The storming, standing ovation that followed was exhilarating.

“How do we follow that!?” the orchestra must have said to themselves during the interval. But they did, with an expert subtle mood change for spine-tingling performances of Grieg’s Holberg Suite and Haydn’s ‘Passione’ Symphony.

A world-class concert. Taunton must have more like this.

Lynn Burgess

Music on the Quantocks

Website: musiconthequantocks.com