For details on how to contact our editorial and commercial departments, click here
Unfinished Masterpiece, The Northern Sinfonia, The Sage Gateshead
The Northern Sinfonia’s concert programme Unfinished Masterpiece took its title from Schubert’s Symphony No 8 in B Minor.
Though incomplete at his timely death, there is alluring balance between two movements of poignant beauty; laid bare in all their glory by Swiss conductor Mario Venzago, at The Sage Gateshead.
Venzago created a sense of tension in a muscular opening, which snapped in impeccably-timed outbursts of anguish.
Wielding a long baton, Venzago has an extravagant conducting style which seems almost choreographed to the music. The Sinfonia responded to every cue.
Elgar’s Cello Concerto in E minor did not have an auspicious first outing when it was premiered in 1919, as the orchestra was badly under-rehearsed then.
There was no danger of that happening this time, with the work fronted by Swiss cellist Christian Poltera; who famously established his reputation at the of 17, when he replaced the eminent Yo-Yo Ma to perform the piece.
From the work’s dramatic opening flourish, Poltera had complete command of the stage, producing singing phrases of eloquence, depth and purity.
The Sinfonia’s playing dovetailed seamlessly with his sterling performance.
The evening ended with Mozart’s Symphony No 41 in C “Jupiter”. Venzago set a brisk pace in a tightly-controlled Allegro vivace, while drawing out the yearning melody of the Andante with fastidious care.
Oboists Steve Hudson and Michael O’Donnell and flutist Juliette Bausor clearly relished their colourful displays in the Menuetto.
The post-concert spotlight fell on Sinfonia principal clarinettist Jessica Lee, who gave a scintillating recital of Bela Kovacs’ Hommages to JS Bach and M de Falla. It was well worth waiting for the extra time.