Sunday, September 17, 2023

concert review: Nova Vista Symphony

The last symphony I'd heard in concert was at the beginning of June. It was Schubert's Great C Major.

Last night the summer hiatus finally ended, and I heard Schumann's Rhenish.

The Nova Vista is a community orchestra that conveniently played in the Mountain View CPA, and gave a pretty adequate performance, very plain interpretatively but competently played, thick and bold in sound despite a somewhat undersized ensemble, only losing the thread a little in the slow movement (the first one, nitpickers). I'm not surprised at the quality, as their music director, Anthony Quartuccio, who shows up locally a lot, is a pretty good conductor. Not a criticism: this isn't the major leagues, that's all.

Also got through two other works from the same milieu, Brahms's Academic Festival Overture and Bruch's Violin Concerto No. 1, and gave an impressively supple performance of the encore, Brahms's Hungarian Dance No. 5. And if you think all this echt-German repertoire had a lot to do with why I chose to attend, you wouldn't be mistaken.

Solo violin in the Bruch was the winner of their young soloist competition, Riona Zhu, who's 14. As tall as an adult but otherwise obviously young, she put a lot of power and not a minuscule amount of expressiveness into her playing, only getting a bit awkward in some of the more complex fingerings in the finale. Quite impressive, in truth, and I'm sorry there wasn't a bigger audience to give her a bigger round of applause afterwards. The only thing she really has not learned to do is to take a bow with flair.

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