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It is a long time since the Bruch Violin Concerto No 1 has been so uplifting and so riveting.
Under the inspired direction of Simon Over, the Dunedin Symphony Orchestra and equally inspiring solo violinist Natalia Lomeiko together produced an extraordinarily energetic and concentrated performance at the King's and Queen's Performing Arts Centre on Saturday evening.
It was a performance that won prolonged and exuberant applause from a full house.
Lomeiko engaged with the orchestra from the first bar, successfully involving and to a large degree controlling the emotional impact of each section with her performance.
Her playing is masterful; her phrasing appeared controlled by an apparent breathing into the bow, a poetic incorporation of bow and body making her virtuosity a sublime spectacle.
The audience's standing ovation and unwillingness to let her go was rewarded with an encore, Bach's Sarabande in D minor, played with great sensitivity.
The evening opened with Mendelssohn's frothy and happy Overture to A Midsummer Night's Dream.
After what inevitably, perhaps, sounds like a nervous beginning the Dunedin Symphony Orchestra produced an enlivened performance.
The Fairies fluttered, Donkey brayed and the alternately embracing and squabbling lovers were all convincingly conveyed.
This clever programming would provide a sweet counterpoint to the dynamic Bruch.
Haydn's Symphony No 1 No 104 in D major, 'London' shows Haydn at the peak of his powers but, after 103 prior symphonies, his harmonic surprises were well rehearsed and perhaps too well known.
The Dunedin Symphony Orchestra performance became mundane, despite nicely executing the witty flounces and curtseys, the alternating tiptoeing and the luxurious wash of sounds.
Particularly nice was the opening to the "Finale: Spiritoso'' with its English folk-like melody a winning nod to the first audience in London.
- Marian Poole
London Calling, Dunedin Symphony Orchestra
King's and Queen's Performing Arts Centre
Saturday, June 11