New Bristol Sinfonia - Reviews
SINFONIA CELEBRATES MILESTONE Published in the Bristol Evening Post, 8th October 2007
New Bristol Sinfonia: Colston Hall.
To celebrate the 10th anniversary of their formation, New Bristol Sinfonia ambitiously chose Mahler's Resurrection symphony.
Any professional outfit would find this work challenging but for these amateurs to produce a performance of this calibre was truly amazing. An orchestra of more than 100, including Jo Mahler, a distant relative of the composer, plus a large chorus meant there were well over 250 performers on the rather cramped stage.
Mahler described the first movement as the Titanic struggle against life and death. It is based on several contrasting ideas, which the orchestra conveyed with great success from the opening angry funeral music to the expressive and lyrical section which suggests the final triumph to come.
The conductor observed the five-minute silence requested by the composer before introducing the difference in style in the beautiful and sophisticated Landler. The Scherzo is a masterly development of one of the composer's songs.
In the poem Urlicht, the mezzo soprano soloist Polly May gave a tender rendition of this simple song, which leads into the massive finale.
Every section was prominently involved during the 35 minutes of this monumental movement.
Such supple and rich string-playing, expressive woodwind - in which Catherine Maytum in her demanding flute solo was superbly confident - the mellow tone of the brass and the energetic skill of the percussion would please any professional outfit.
The massed choir, after their long wait, breathed new life into the Resurrection Ode, with the help of soprano Kishani Jayasinghe.
James Lowe, the charismatic conductor, held the large forces together very successfully in a memorable evening of celebration.
Concert was held on Saturday 6th October 2007 - archived information can be viewed here.
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