<< -- 3 -- Lawrence Budmen IMPRESSIONS OF ITALY
Mendelssohn's Symphony No 4 in A Op 90 (Italian) received a lively, elegant
performance. From the first notes of the Allegro vivace, Neale drew vigorous,
incisive playing from the New World strings. The winds played with lightness and
élan. The warm, lush sound of the strings in the Andante con moto was
gorgeous. Neale made the movement a glorious lyrical outpouring rather than the funeral
dirge less sensitive interpreters bring to the music. The third movement
Con moto moderato had songlike elegance. The contribution of the orchestra's
horn section was especially distinguished. Neale took the final Saltarello: Presto
at a daringly fast tempo. The result was invigorating. The bustling Italian dance rhythm
was delightful. Transparency of orchestral detail was a joy to hear. The musicians
played Mendelssohn's masterwork with sparkle and élan.
A visit to Italy in 1903 prompted Sir Edward Elgar to write his Overture
In the South Op 50. From the dynamic opening to the long limbed melodies of the
middle section, this score is quintessential Elgar. Brilliant orchestral playing and
dynamic rhythmic articulation were the hallmarks of a stunning performance. Neale caught
the sentiment of the work's central section. A rich, glowing viola solo was memorable.
All the lyricism and rousing high spirits of the music were set forth in high
style -- irresistible Elgar!
Four impressions of Italy -- each set forth with strong musicality and attention to
stylistic details. Although many of the New World Symphony's players are new this
season, the ensemble playing was outstanding. The wonderfully detailed, patrician
conducting of Alasdair Neale made for an evening of superb music making.