Oxford Times June 13 2003

Brahms Double Concerto, Oxford Philomusica.

You can argue about which work in Music at Oxford's most recent concert came out on top. My money is on Brahm's Double Concerto winning by a canvas over his second Symphony. Its nose-in-front position was partly guaranteed by the hustling performance of the two soloists, Thomas Bowes on violin, Raphael Wallfisch on cello. These two alerted audience-response like true stars, with the Sheldonian's firm acoustic proving particularly friendly to Wallfisch's broad, dramatic bowing. If the cello's initial recitative, and unaccompanied dialogue with violin, denote mostly Brahm's anxiety to spotlight his soloists, you could have fooled me. Here was Wallfisch making it lustily clear he would never be muffled, come all the forces of the orchestra against him and leaving us to enjoy a moment of high, declamatory rhetoric. He and Bowes then struck a vein of gutsy utterance providing, at times, an illusion of heady recklessness. It well became the sharply contrasted themes of the outer movements; and the approach was unerringly sustained, both soloists in almost telepathic touch....

Derek Jole - June 13 2003