Young English conductor Alexander Shelley portrayed a personal performance of Schubert´s Fifth Symphony, and joined Janina Fialkowska in the joyful Ravel´s Piano Concert in G Major.
The concert started with Infinite Sky with Birds, a symphonic piece composed by Alexina Louie. Born in Vancouver, Louie presented at the Orpheum an evocative piece, somehow irregular and uncertain, but full of color and poetry. Besides some delightful moments with the percussion, harp and oboe as principal instruments, we missed a more positive approach. The dark tunes and troubling phrases do not go in parallel with the exhilaration that Ms. Louie tries to express.
We heard a performance of Franz Schubert´s Symphony no.5 in B-flat Major, probably the best of the first symphonies of the German composer. The result was poor and disappointing. The touching beauty of the melodies was always present. However, the oversweet mood of the performance and the failure to match the natural style of a young romantic Schubert led to boringness and indifference. Looking for the beauty of the melody, Mr. Shelley used too slow tempi. Thus, he forgot about the power of simplicity and the impact of sincerity.
Only one week after the success of Vancouver Symphony Orchestra with the Piano Concert for the Left Hand, last Saturday the VSO completed the Ravel´s program for piano and orchestra. Although very different one from another, both works share the same delicacy and intimate inspiration. The VSO demonstrated a remarkable knowledge of this repertoire, where the musicians, led by Mr. Shelley, can explore new ways of expression. This time, the sound of the piano played by the Canadian Janina Fialkowska appeared perfectly embedded into the overall symphonic flow. However, this balance did not hide the talent of the pianist, whose best skills appear mainly in the small details.