NCCO plays Elgar, Bridge, O'Connor, Schnittke
May 20, 2011
* Notes *
New Century Chamber Orchestra ends the 2010-2011 season with a world premiere of Mark O'Connor's Elevations. The performance in Berkeley yesterday evening began with two Elgar pieces, the Larghetto from Serenade for Strings in E minor, Op. 20 and the Introduction and Allegro for Solo Quartet and Strings. The pieces sounded florid, and perhaps almost violently chaotic, but also showed some range of dynamics. Frank Bridge's Sir Roger de Coverly was a rather cute touch before the intermission. The piece from O'Connor seems based on a simple, short figure that is disguised in different manners, but repeats many times. It was played with great vigor, but oddly, my main impression was that this melody would make a good segue music on NPR. The places where Music Director and Concertmaster Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg (pictured above) shone through were most flattering, she is persuasive, to say the least. The concert concluded with the droll Moz-art à la Haydn by Alfred Schnittke, and this showed the ensemble at its best, playful and wry.
* Tattling *
There was talking in the second half, especially during the Schnittke, even though we were warned the lights would be dimmed.