Tuesday, Apr 28, 2015Tuesday, Apr 28, 2015

Concert review: Conservatory Strings overflows with youthful exuberance

Published on Mar 13, 2014 2:14 PM

There is a famous recording on the old Philips label, where Antonio Vivaldi's The Four Seasons with violinist Salvatore Accardo is played by an ensemble formed wholly of Stradivarius instruments. Such an arrangement is a reality in Singapore because all the string players at the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory play on instruments loaned by The Rin Collection, one of the world's great repositories of historical instruments.

Any concert by the Conservatory Strings thus becomes an unmitigated treat, as with this one on Wednesday which paired the four most famous violin concertos by Vivaldi with The Four Seasons Of Buenos Aires of the late Argentine tango-master Astor Piazzolla.

Unlike another famous recording, this time by Gidon Kremer and Kremerata Baltica on the Nonesuch label, the two sets were played separately, with a different violinist leading in each season.

Xu Minjia took centrestage in Vivaldi's Spring, her firm tone, healthy vibrato and incisive playing lit up with smiles aplenty. Displaying equal adroitness was Shi Xiaoxuan in Summer, whose frequent glances to her partners showed she is sensitive to the fine balance of chamber music-making.

Enjoy 2 weeks of unlimited digital access to The Straits Times. Get your free access now!