Reviews – Northern Lights March 2010

“It is no wonder conductor Steve Bingham is enthusiastic about Ely Sinfonia. Under his baton, this orchestra has continued to grow and develop into one of the finest orchestras in the district. Their concert Northern Lights in Ely Cathedral was a magnificent testament to their expertise.

The programme of Scandinavian composers introduced a variety of compositions.

A performance of Grieg’s Peer Gynt Suite, no.1. op.46, opened events easing the listeners into a fascinating musical experience. Morning was highly evocative and delightful woodwind readily called up the sun.  In this piece, the orchestral sections were particularly well balanced. In Death of Ase, Steve’s excellent sense of timing drew every nuance of emotion from the strings who responded perfectly to his lead.  Precision and lightness inspired momentum in Anitra’s Dance, while developing excitement ruled In the Hall of the Mountain King.

Solo violinist, Matthew Trusler, playing a 1711 violin by Stradivarius, demonstrated a phenomenal appreciation of the intentions of the composer Sibelius in his Violin Concerto op.47.  Matthew made full use of the gorgeous sounds from his highly valuable instrument. With amazing technique every nuance of expression was given full value. Fingers flew over the strings, bow struck with full-bodied vigour, or sailed effortlessly across the whole range of the instrument without a single note lost; this marvellous performer held the listeners spellbound.

Surprisingly, the concert ended with another meaty work: Nielsen’s Symphony no. 5. Op. 50. Any misgivings about this choice were soon dispelled. The perception of the conductor and the sensitivity and skill of the instrumentalists made this work approachable and fascinating as it explored the battle between light and dark, good and evil, stillness and energy. Nielsen’s courage in giving the snare drum a solo role was a fascinating ingredient.

There is no doubt that this orchestra has earned a position of high regard”

Dr Rosemary Westwell, Local Arts Critic