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Great Fun

More from Sinfonia Viva's
school and college residency project,
reviewed by MIKE WHEELER


The culmination of Sinfonia Viva's school and college residency project this year (Assembly Rooms, Derby, UK, 6 March 2008) took the theme of creation, and had a strong dance element.

Both were reflected in the programme for the first half. After an incisive performance of 'Danza del Jalisco', the last of Copland's Three Latin-American Sketches, dancers Tom Dale and Louise Tanoto repeated their delightful duet from the curtain-raiser evening the previous week. Then it was danced to the scherzo from Ravel's String Quartet. On this occasion the music was played in a very skilful chamber-orchestra version by Viva player Graham Hall.

The centrepiece of the first half, bringing the dance and creation ideas neatly together, was Milhaud's La Création du Monde. The performance, though, felt somewhat tentative, with a number of passages not quite making their full effect. But there was no uncertainty in the Ritual Fire Dance from Falla's El Amor Brujo, as gusty -- and, well, fiery -- as you could wish.

For the second half the orchestra was joined by music and dance students from three local schools and colleges as well as Derby University for Creation, a big music and dance piece exploring the theme of this year's project. It was put together over the previous few weeks in workshops led by Tom Dale (dance) and James Redwood (music). The music borrowed themes from the Ravel and Milhaud, and the groups made separate as well as collective contributions to the music and the dance.

The junior school children, indeed, did both, returning from the stage with an impressive lack of fuss to their seats on the floor of the hall to pick up their instruments (and I didn't know there were that many ten year-old girl trombonists in Derby).

Once again, the audience was left amazed at this huge pool of young talent, and the ability of the facilitators and Viva's musicians to channel all this creative energy into the final result. For the children and students it must have been a fantastic learning experience as well as great fun.

Copyright © 20 March 2008 Mike Wheeler, Derby UK



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