Dvorák & Brahms
Soloist – Li-Wei Qin
Saturday 12 August, 7.30pm
Dunedin Town Hall
Simon Over: Principal Guest Conductor
Li-Wei Qin: Cello
John Adams: The Chairman Dances
Dvorák: Cello Concerto
Brahms: Symphony No. 4
A superlative performance of Dvorak’s utterly gorgeous Cello Concerto in B minor was at the heart of a truly outstanding Dunedin Symphony Orchestra concert on Saturday night.
The audience’s deepening silence spoke volumes as listeners became lost in soloist Li-Wei Qin’s spellbinding performance, exhaling on thunderous applause.
Qin’s 1780 Joseph Guadagnini cello was like an extension of his own body, resulting in seemingly effortless mastery of both the emotion and technical demands of Dvorak’s work.
Operating like a well-oiled machine under the baton of principal guest conductor Simon Over, the DSO provided sterling and sensitive support throughout.
Drawn back to the stage by the audience acclaim, Qin presented the short and sweet Chonguri, by Sulkhan Tsintadze, showcasing the cello as an instrument for plucking and strumming.
Abuzz with the joy of it through the interval, the audience settled in to enjoy the DSO’s performance of Brahms’ expressive, Symphony No. 4 in E minor.
This expansive, four-movement work gave ample scope for the orchestra’s various sections to shine, particularly the brass and woodwind, anchored by tight playing by the strings.
The concert began by celebrating American composer John Adams’ 70th birthday with a performance of his witty “foxtrot for orchestra” The Chairman Dances.
With the Dvorak cello concerto the undoubted highlight, Saturday’s DSO concert _ Qin’s first visit to the city for 13 years _was a wonderfully satisfying musical experience. Come back to us soon, Li-Wei Qin.
-Reviewed by Brenda Harwood for The Star, Thursday, 17 August 2017