I had been thinking about going to the SOSL concert, mainly to listen to Tharanga Goonetilleke, but had forgotten about it completely until a friend rang in the morning to offer me his tickets because he was unable to attend.
I did not know what the programme was, except for the fact that Tharanga was singing and she did sing very well, earning a standing ovation from the packed audience.
The opening piece of the concert was a flute concerto by a modern Brazilian composer, whose name I did not quite catch and whose identity remains unknown to me since all the programmes were sold out. It was an agreeable enough piece and reasonably short. I find the flute to be rather inexpressive instrument, so in my book concerti for the instrument should be kept fairly short if the listeners attention is to be held.
The real highlight of the day was however, the Dvořák ninth. It is a symphony I have heard several times (on recordings, not in a live concert) but I realised today that I had never listened to it closely enough. I have always heard the brass and strings (I used to think that symphony was actually dominated by these) but never paid enough attention to the woodwind passages, which are many and beautiful and which the SOSL played with great felicity. The brass played with great refinement and the string tone, warm and rich.
Although tempi were a little slow, the conductor used this to bring out the inner voices, especially in the woodwind parts. I would rank this particular performance by the SOSL the best I have ever heard, beating even the superb performance of the Dvořák eighth under James Ross a couple of years ago.