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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.

Copyright © 1 November 2003 Lawrence Budmen, Miami Beach, USA





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