Marian Poole, Piano Teacher and Music Critic.

Inkinen and Josefowicz with the NZSO at the Dunedin Town Hall, 26 July 2007

A near capacity crowd were rewarded with some truly stimulating music from Pietari Inkinen and Leila Josefowicz with the NZSO at the Dunedin Town Hall on 26 July. It is worth noting that other cities received programmes of greater variety. While Mendelssohn's Concerto is a beautiful work, and was played by Josefowicz with new energy, one of the Sibelius works, perhaps "En Saga", might have been replaced with Ritchie's "Whalesong". When does Dunedin get to revel in "The Rite of Spring"?. A tad more spice in our contemporary diet would not go amiss.

However, gripes aside, the Orchestra and Soloist played beautifully under Inkinen's direction. When all sections gel as one, when the balance between strings and woodwind is complimentary and the richness of the brass soars, there is the sense that our orchestra has reached virtuosic heights. Sibelius's well-known 5th Symphony has a particularly sumptuous melody carried by the horns which was brought to its triumphant climax with broad and loving sweeps from Inkinen's baton. Tensions between strings and woodwind were also worked to their best advantage. "En Saga", on the other hand, tends to moither around, while creating the sense of a day passing, dawning hesitantly, dancing through the day until growing quiet before the closing maelstrom. Hearing both works in one sitting highlighted Sibelius's ability to raise passions with his music but also his apparent inability to resolve them satisfactorily without abruptly changing the subject.

Virtuoso violinist, Leila Josefowicz, gave Mendelssohn's "Violin Concerto" a real run for its money. She might have not plumbed the work's weightier sentiment, but opening themes in the "Allegro molto appassionato" were stated forcefully and the "Andante" was pretty, while the "allegro non troppo" became a lithe and quixotic dialogue which delighted both orchestra and audience.