News and Reviews
Review: Sinfonia Viva's New Year's Eve Gala
Royal Concert Hall, Nottingham - 31st December 2009
Tired of London? Then you must be tired of life. That, at least, was the gist of what Dr Johnson had to say about the great metropolis. So it was a shrewd move on the part of Sinfonia Viva to have 'London Calling' as the theme of this year's New Year's Eve Gala concert.
The programme was rich and varied: Haydn's elegant finale to his last 'London' symphony; Charles Ives' very naughty set of variations on 'America'; and lots of ceremonial pomp and circumstance. That meant Elgar, of course, but also Walton in coronation mode with his Crown Imperial.
Sinfonia Viva have something of a reputation for their interpretation of Hucknall-born Eric Coates, so it was good to hear their bouncily energetic rendition of his Knightsbridge March.
There were two much-loved musical birds on the programme too, brought to life by two of the orchestra's star performers.
Benedict Holland was the brilliant solo violinist in Vaughan Williams' The Lark Ascending and timpanist Graham Hall was responsible for a magical arrangement of A Nightingale Sung in Berkley Square.
And, of course, it wouldn't be New Year's Eve without the waltzing Strausses: their Recollections of Covent Garden and Homage to Queen Victoria coming as unfamiliar gems mined from their vast output.
Nicholas Kok was, as usual, both conductor and affable compere. Under his direction the orchestra demonstrated not only their subtlety and elegance but also showed, when necessary, that they could flex their musical muscles and punch far above their weight.
Review from Nottingham Evening Post