News and Reviews
Review: Sinfonia Viva 'Night Shift' Derby Residency
Assembly Rooms, Derby - Wednesday 9th March 2011
This year's Sinfonia Viva schools' residency concert was a spin-off from the orchestra's work with composer Anna Meredith and her video artist sister Eleanor, and their recent piece Four Tributes to 4 am.
For the first half, the four participating student groups - from Lawn and Walter Evans Primary Schools, Woodlands Community School and Derby College – worked with unflappably resourceful leader James Redwood, taking the night-time theme to create new pieces designed to slot round and in between Copland's Quiet City and the individual movements of Debussy's Three Nocturnes. 'Fêtes' prompted a witty number from Walter Evans School about sneaking off to the fairground. Derby College's contribution was designed to accompany a clever piece of stop-frame animation by Walter Evans pupil Thomas Roberts involving origami birds, chessmen and a runaway toy car.
In the Copland itself, Viva and conductor André de Ridder brought out all the score's tenderness and poetry, with Emily Pailthorpe and Anthony Thompson eloquent in the solo cor anglais and trumpet parts. In the Debussy, re-scored with remarkable skill by Viva timpanist Graham Hall for an orchestra of just eighteen players, they projected a vivid sense of colour, inner stillness in Nuages, and fizzing energy in Fetes. James Redwood provided a more wholesale re-working of Sirènes, with simplified voice-parts for the students, and the first half wound down with a Postlude cleverly incorporating references back to Quiet City.
Part 2 consisted of Night Shift, developed in workshops led by the Meredith sisters, James Redwood, and players from Viva with, again, each group contributing an individual song. Beginning and ending with a Stravinsky-like chorale it explored various nocturnal themes, from a hunting owl to the growing dawn.
Once again, a deeply satisfying and heart-warming showcase of collective commitment and creativity.
Review by Mike Wheeler