GARRY WALKER: Conductor
ANNA-LIISA BEZRODNY: Violin Soloist
BRYAN DARGIE: Leader
Review by Garry Fraser, Dundee Courier 22nd May 2018
Think of a violin concerto and Brahms or Beethoven might immediately spring to mind. Think of a Tchaikovsky symphony and 4, 5 and 6 appear in bold. Not so the Aberdeen Sinfonietta. For them it’s a Mozart violin concerto – his fifth – and Tchaikovsky’s second symphony, the “Little Russian”.
However, it takes a soloist – in this case Anna-Liisa Bezrodny – and the quality of the Sinfonietta to ensure both works deserve star billing. Sunday’s concert in the Caird Hall ensured this was the case.
Bezrodny is a soloist I know well from performances of the Romantic concerti, but she was absolutely stunning in their polar opposite, the Mozart. Beautiful tone, three exceptional cadenzi and wonderful lyricism, particularly in the second movement. The Sinfonietta looked a trifle large for a Mozart work, but conductor Garry Walker Ensured the ultimate in fine balance.
Class was the by-word for the orchestra’s individual performances, giving every indication of a tight, well-drilled outfit.
Tchaikovsky’s Dances from The Oprichnik were new to me, rousing folk tunes that had the orchestra bursting with flair and enthusiasm. There was more of an unknown quantity in the shape of Joe Stollery and his Grampian Picture, a contemporary work certainly not out of place in company of Mozart and Tchaikovsky.
But I thought the orchestra raised the bar to a considerable height with the symphony. It’s full of folk tunes and a quaint military-style second movement but there’s also a barrowload of excitement, intensity which were moderated by some lovely moments of sublimity.
There is no doubt that this is a high quality ensemble and it’s a great pity that so few witnessed a truly excellent all-round performance.