News and Reviews
Review: Sinfonia Viva with Tanja Tetzlaff, cello
Assembly Rooms, Derby - Tuesday 24th January 2012
André de Ridder's last Derby concert as Sinfonia Viva's Principal Conductor was a rather low-key send-off in personal terms, but the players were clearly determined to make it a memorable occasion.
James Redwood's Peggy on a Scooter is the latest of Viva's Orchestra Shorts series of commissions. A portrait of his and poet Hazel Gould's two-year-old daughter, it was an engaging few minutes of bright, pulsing, but not aggressive, rhythmic energy.
Tanja Tetzlaff was the soloist in a performance of Shostakovich's Cello Concerto No 1 notable for a chamber-music-like interaction with the orchestra that produced vivid, sharply etched colours in the first movement and, in the second, a searching combination of strong singing lines and fragile expressiveness. Tetzlaff's control of the increasing animation in the cadenza third movement was compelling. The finale was taken at a fairly steady tempo but with no lack of urgency, and with the chattering woodwind parts sounding aptly ghoulish. Principal horn Mark Smith was a strong, dependable presence throughout.
Seven of the piano pieces that make up Janácek's On an overgrown path were scored in 2002 by David Blake for strings with optional solo flute, clarinet and horn parts. Viva's performance brought out the affinities with Dvorak latent in the original, particularly in the polka, No 2, and the expressive warmth of No 3. The final piece, The Barn-Owl Has Not Flown Away was all the more moving for its restraint.
Mozart's Symphony No 38, Prague, opened with a broad, spacious view of the imposing slow introduction that led readily into the bustling energy that followed. Flowing treatment of the second movement, becoming darker as it went on, threw into relief the nimble comedy of the finale. André de Ridder set a cracking pace, but it was full of sharp, clear details, with a fine sense of the music's underlying comedy.
Review by Mike Wheeler