John Manning, music critic of the Herts Advertiser, was “dazzled” by the Korngold Violin Concerto at SASO’s autumn concert
Although only 25, Russian-born violinist Adelia Myslov already has a substantial repertoire. But on Saturday she added one more exciting work.For her appearance with the St Albans Symphony Orchestra at St Saviour’s Church saw her first public performance of Erich Korngold’s virtuosic Violin Concerto. The work opens with a violin solo which is immediately challenging for the performer, but Adelia carried it off with tremendous skill and musicianship.
For much of his working life Korngold wrote for the cinema and in 1938 won an Oscar for his score to The Adventures of Robin Hood. So it is not surprising that there are many references to his film works in the concerto. For the performer the greatest challenge is the final movement which starts with a fiery jog before moving on to a second theme based on his music for the film The Prince and the Pauper which builds to a challenging virus climax.
Adelia Myslov demonstrate exactly why she has won many awards in her short career and gave a dazzling performance. She is one of a number of young musicians who have performed in St Albans who are destined to have notable careers in the future. Her performance of the Korngold was fluent and full of expressing, bringing tremendous life to the work.
The main work of the evening was the first symphony of Finland’s iconic composer Jean Sibelius. Although not in the same class as his later works, the symphony written when he was in his mid-20s shows many of the characteristics that were to become so familiar in his future. His heavy use of brass and some particular motifs are enough to identify the symphony as the work of Sibelius and, like more than half his symphonies, is in a minor key which gives it a brooding, yet stark quality.
The orchestra, under its conductor Bjorn Bantock, handled all the challenges of the work, providing tremendous colour and depth. It opens with a stunning clarinet solo accompanied by a roll from the timpani and later features solos from the string sections.
Opening the concert was a spirited and well-played performance of Wagner’s overture The Mastersingers of Nuremberg and the introduction to the second half was The Walk to the Paradise Garden from the Delius opera A Village Romeo and Juliet.