Sinfonia of Birmingham review 5.10.19


St Mary's Church, Warwick *****

Conductor Michael Seal certainly challenges his Sinfonia of Birmingham players with exciting, hair-raising programmes.
The concert venue was St Mary's Church, Warwick – beautiful but very resonant.
Passacaglia op 1 by Webern began this mind-blowing evening, A graduation piece in 1908, the 23 variations with highlighted solo strands weaving into shimmering tutti strings, a very busy piece throughout.
Another tortured soul, Dmitri Shostakovich , started his Violin Concert no 1 with dark foreboding. Gold medallist Zoe Beyers riveted the audience with her overwhelming, sensitive deliverance of a tour-de-force, from almost inaudible silken threads, to foot-stamping burlesque-style wildness. (Oistrakh described this work as "demonic.") Hectic , crazy, sparkling finished this outstanding performance to cheering from an excited audience.
Violinist and now CBSO Associate Conductor, Michael Seal encourages and welcomes City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra players as guest leaders, soloists and conductors.
Heart-stopping Sibelius's Symphony No 1 in E minor swept us off to Finland's unique countryside – pine forests, quiet pools and hidden wildlife, with heart stopping great tunes, gutsy, sweeping, dramatic and truly moody.
Colourful harp glissandi added with wood-wind arpeggios to the full orchestra and with the hair-raising strings in the final movement. Spot on tuning highlighting FAT tunes finish this tear jerker with drama and a certain feeling of relief all round. A splendid achievement for all concerned.
Maggie Cotton

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