MSO MARATHON ★★★★
June 8, YouTube
Controversy has clouded the MSO’s resolve to “keep the music going” during the COVID-19 pandemic. After a hope-filled live stream of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 in March, the musicians were stood down. Dire warnings about the orchestra’s long-term financial viability prompted an online petition that attracted more than 8000 signatures.
This six-hour online marathon (a mixture of live and pre-recorded performances) had an air of management anxiously reconnecting with its support base. However the primary focus was on fine musicians finally playing together again under the MSO banner.
A widely varied program took its impetus from the Beethoven anniversary and World Environment Day. Live performance highlights included a rhapsodic account of Vaughan Williams’ The Lark Ascending in which Dale Barltrop’s violin took flight on the wings of the music’s wistful melancholy and a performance of Vivaldi’s Winter where Anne-Marie Johnson harnessed rhythmic bite and stylish singing tone to conjure up the season.