Prolonged applause for concert

Review by Brenda Lane

THE 2010/11 season of concerts by Boston Sinfonia culminated in a truly convincing performance of the second symphony of Sibelius.

Boston Stump resounded first to a performance of his symphonic poem Finlandia.

Both very popular works carry his signature – the rapidly repeating groups of notes, the grand melodies with heavy down beat with their origin in the natural rhythms of the then suppressed Finnish language and in Karelian folk music.

These, together with his orchestration – huge brass with tympani, sweeping strings, haunting woodwind tunes and a penchant for the lower registers, can only be from Sibelius.

Conductor Nigel Morley and leader Anne Dales played their hearts out.

It was an interesting piece of programming to place Beethoven’s Emperor Piano Concerto, with Michael Bell as soloist, between these two works. A century separates this classical concerto with its own characteristic sound world, from Sibelius.

That the performance was marred by ugly interruptions, both banging and shouting, at the South Door of the church, is a sad reflection on our times. This broke the concentration of players and audience, leaving everyone on edge and though the performers behaved with professionalism, the spell had been broken and seemed difficult to retrieve, especially when the banging recurred.

There was loud and prolonged applause at the end and the audience took the opportunity to extend their appreciation, as the sections were brought to their feet by their conductor.