Concert Guildhall Boston

(March 09, 2013)

Boston Sinfonia 9 March 2013 - in a different venue

Boston Sinfonia have been trying some new venues this season  - places they can afford, that are large enough to accommodate them and where the acoustic is reasonable for both players and audience and which feel welcoming. Though the Boston Guildhall had proved excellent for the small orchestra and audience at their previous concert, on Saturday, with a full orchestra of almost fifty musicians, they  played in the newly re- furbished hall at Haven High Academy. Here the Boston audience had a different experience, for they were on steeply raked, comfortable seating, with the orchestra displayed on the flat below - every player clearly visible, the timpani and full brass, needed for the Wagner and Brahms in the programme, impressively arrayed at the back.

As soon as the huge first thrilling chords of Wagner’s Overture to the Mastersingers sounded, it was clear that this hall has an exceedingly clear, brittle acoustic, with every note heard, every nuance exposed, and every forte very penetrating below the relatively low ceiling.  Schubert’s Unfinished Symphony worked wonderfully, its gentle subtleties observed and powerful dramas built really well.

After the interval there was just one very big work, the Brahms’ First Symphony, with its ominous opening – that long repeated beating of the timpani, strong emotional impact, and with that grand Beethovenian theme emerging in the finale again and again, its final entry a broadened expression of strength, most beautifully judged in this performance by conductor Nigel Morley. Impressive throughout this concert were the clarinet, oboe and horn soloists, the musicians brought to their feet for generous applause. All the orchestral players, led by Anne Dales, and so committed to their work together, should feel very satisfied with this performance.


Brenda Lane


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