News and Reviews
Review: Sinfonia Viva with conductor Nicholas Collon and Saleem Abboud Ashkar, piano
Royal Concert Hall, Nottingham - 8th December 2011
Sinfonia Viva's concert came as an antidote to recent classical music-making in the Royal Concert Hall. Not for Viva the Technicolor spectacle of besieged Leningrad or Roman armies marching along the Appian Way. Instead they brought wit, sparkle and elegance to their performance of small-scale 19th-century classics.
They started with a relative rarity: Schumann's Overture, Scherzo and Finale. In the hands of conductor Nicholas Collon the introduction felt unusually weighty, while the ensuing Allegro was full of vitality and the Scherzo crisp yet relaxed.
Saleem Abboud Ashkar was the soloist in Mendelssohn's Second Piano Concerto. It's hardly the most profound work in the repertoire, but the energy and dramatic contrasts were well caught. The performance combined freshness and brilliance in the fast outer movements with a sense of poetry in the lyrical centre.
The second half featured Beethoven's Fourth Symphony, a work of such robust bounce and brio that it's easy to forget the composer scored it for modest forces. Sinfonia Viva have the knack of breathing new life into familiar repertoire, never more so than in the bubbling finale. Hats off to the principal bassoonist who managed his notoriously tricky solo with such aplomb.
Review by William Ruff for Nottingham Post.