Review: CBSO Youth Orchestra, at Symphony Hall
And if you’d been listening with your eyes closed on Sunday you would have been convinced that you were hearing one of the finest professional outfits around, with tight ensemble, flawless intonation and limitless depths of tone.
Open your eyes and you would have realised this was the fresh, willing and eager CBSO Youth Orchestra, so expertly responsive to the inspiring beat of the estimable Dutch conductor Jac van Steen.
A week’s intensive coaching from members of the parent orchestra pays dividends when push comes to shove, and exposure in one of the world’s great halls puts all the youngsters on their mettle – with fantastic results.
We began with the world premiere of the latest commission from Birmingham’s generously empowering Feeney Trust, Ben Foskett’s Leckey, paying tribute to the Turner prizewinning contemporary artist.
Well-scored for the orchestra’s lavish complement, with well-dovetailed textures and clearly-defined episodes, the work was given with meticulous attention to dynamics and detail, and made a tremendous impression.
Alina Pogostkina was the spry, appropriately puppet-like soloist in Stravinsky’s quirky Violin Concerto, two emotional inner movements (her tone smilingly lyrical) framed by predictably composing-by-numbers outer ones where her phrasing was pointed and athletic.
But then came the highlight, a taut, appreciative performance of Rachmaninov’s searching Symphonic Dances which tested every section of the orchestra to triumphant success.
Special praise to concertmaster Diego Vassallo for his piercing violin solo, black mark to the great conductor for allowing applause to intrude upon the properly dying-away tam-tam conclusion.
Rating * * * * *