‘Cristian dazzles as SASO as conductor shows the way’

Cristian.picJohn Manning, music critic for the Herts Advertiser, was impressed in March by rising violin start Cristian Grajner de Sa – and by SASO’s playing  under guest conductor Leon Gee

“Although Cristian Grajner De Sa is still an undergraduate he dazzled his audience ill St Albans on Saturday with his performance of Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto.

“Performing with the St Albans Symphony Orchestra under guest conductor Leon Gee, his playing was dynamic and exciting and brought great life to this outstanding piece of music. His performance of the cadenza together with an emotional slow movement helped to make a great performance. And the orchestra under Mr Gee reacted well to his stimulating playing while the conductor’s precise style and watchful eye ensured a good balance between soloist and orchestra.”

Leon Gee
Leon Gee

“A century divided the music of the first half from the pieces in the second, staring with Benjamin Britten’s evocative Sea Interludes from his opera Peter Grimes. The four pieces are amongst the most image-provoking pieces of music I know and the orchestra did well with the intricate patterns and sound pictures as they generated the images of the sea in its different moods.”

“Rounding off the evening was Paul Hindemith’s Symphonic Metamorphosis of Themes by Weber. Written in 1943 after Hindemith had made his home in the USA, the four movements use as a base, music which the composer claimed was “not the best of Weber’s themes”. But the result is a thoroughly enjoyable series of movements passing through a variety of styles, including jazz. This was a work which probably benefited from Mr Gee’s very precise and indicative conducting style to lead it though the ever-changing musical patterns and the result was a thoroughly enjoyable and interesting performance.”