Electrifying! Najda Salerno-Sonnenberg and the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra

Conductor: Kazuyoshi Akiyama

Dates 3, 4 & 5 March 2007 Venue The Orpheum Theatre Reviewer Susan Peake

She is nothing if not unique. She is described as fearless, original, passionate, powerful and cutting edge; and this weekend past, Najda Salerno-Sonnenberg brought all that and more to the Orpheum Theatre stage.

Together with The Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, lead by the accomplished conductor, Kazuyosi Akiyama, Najda and her violin treated the audience to Baroque, Modern and Neo-classic compositions.

The concert began with the VSO playing Haydn’s straightforward but lovely March for The Royal Society of Musicians. Najda then appeared, and presented Bach’s Violin Concerto No 1 in A minor, which was beautifully arranged and delivered with Najda’s unbridled touches that make the music her own.

By far, the jewel in the crown of this concert was the Concerto for Violin and Orchestra written by Clarice Assad. This compelling and colourful, contemporary, romantic composition showcased Najda’s musical strengths and truly delighted the audience. Clarice is the daughter of the renowned guitarist, Sergio Assad, who, along with his brother has collaborated with Najda for years.

Najda is somewhat fascinating to watch on stage. She radiates a high-spirited, confident, and casual demeanor that transforms into a passionate, articulate and often delicate musical style. At times she seems at one with her violin with the notes charging through her like an electric current from the tips of her toes up and along her arms to the violin.

After the intermission the VSO performed Brahms Symphony No. 4 in E minor. This musical masterpiece was a richly textured treat that delighted the audience and successfully completed the program, as was demonstrated by the audience’s enthusiastic applause.

It’s always a pleasure to spend a Sunday afternoon at the Orpheum Theatre.

© 2007 Susan Peake