The concert began with the Academy of St Martin in the Fields Orchestra performing the Mozart Symphony No. 33. The symphony consists of four movements, Allegro assai, Andante moderato, Menuetto, and the Finale: Allegro assai. It was thought that it wasn’t just Mozart’s work, but also a German composer’s work, Carl Friedrich Abel, from the older classical period. The music was light, which is what is to be brought across in classical music using a variety of dynamic changes, some unexpected. The balance of the orchestra overall was magnificent and the conductor seemed very enrolled in the music, using his body physically to show the orchestra different time changes and other things.

What I found interesting was the fact that the orchestra hardly looked up to the conductor for music reference. Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in E Minor was written in 1838 and was written for Ferdinand David, a talented violinist and a close friend. On the other hand, the concerto took six years to complete and was first performed in Leipzig on 13th March 1845. The concerto consists of three diverse movements, Allegro molto appassionato, Andante, and Allegro non troppo. The way Mendelssohn created the first movement is similar to a sonata form. The second movement uses rich harmonious arpeggios in the violin creating deep suspense for the listener. The main key change and tempo marking surprises the listener in the last movement with many virtuosi passages. This piece was my highlight of the concert.

Leila Josefowicz’s warm rich tone brought across by a fast vibrato made the piece sound fantastic. I felt on the topic of sound balance, the orchestra were slightly overpowering the soloist. I was surprised to see Josefowicz did not use any physical or eye contact with the orchestra or the conductor. I thought the music could become more alive if Josefowicz did this. At times I felt Josefowicz could take more time over passages. The tempo never rushed unless notified in the music. Overall it was a good performance.

The Fair Melusine by Mendelssohn is a legend that takes place in the 14th century. A lovely mermaid called Melusine loves a knight, Raymond of Poitou and was to marry him but was never allowed to show her true form. Eventually, Raymond saw her tail and so on. The performance related very well to the story as it sounded flowing and seamless as it should do as the tune was passed on to different instrument sections. Overall, there was a good balance between the instruments.

To finish the concert, the orchestra performed Haydn’s Symphony No. 101 ‘The Clock’. It consisted of four movements; Adagio-Presto, Andante, Menuet & Trio: Allegretto and the Finale: Vivace. It is called the clock because of the ticking of the instruments in the second movement. The music was interesting because there were dynamics and modulations when least expected. The fast staccato passages were brought out clearly even though they were marked as a quiet dynamic. On the whole, I thoroughly enjoyed the concert.

Katie Kwong, Age 12

Barbican 24th July 2008 Academy of St Martin in the Fields Joseph Swenson - Conductor Leila Josefowicz - Violin

Mozart: Symphony No. 33 Mendelssohn: Violin Concerto in E Minor Mendelssohn: Overture The Fair Melusina Haydn: Symphony No. 101 ‘The Clock’