A weekend full of string music in all its facets. That, in a nutshell, is the Sinfonietta String Festival Zeeland, which took place for the first time in May 2019. After a forced corona break last year, the organizing string orchestra Amsterdam Sinfonietta put together an online edition for last Sunday, recorded in Middelburg and Veere in Zeeland.
The program includes the premiere of a short music film. In front of Tango filmmaking duo Georgios Rietveld and Maarten Corbijn were inspired by the ‘Spring’ and the ‘Summer’ from Astor Piazzolla’s The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires.
Also read the review of Maarten Corbijn’s new photo book: Love the pictures in ‘Corbino’s Bible’
First and foremost: the black-and-white images are beautiful, Amsterdam Sinfonietta plays passionately and tango duo Santos David dances wonderfully. Nevertheless, the combination of music and film does not provide much added value. The constant switching between ‘scenes’ (Sinfonietta in what appears to be a ballroom, concertmaster Candida Thompson in front of a church, on the waterfront, or in waving marram grass) eventually becomes predictable. Moreover, Rietveld and Corbijn tick off quite a few obligatory tango clichés in just fifteen minutes: the brooding look, the bare female leg, the stylized almost kiss on a sultry glissando.
Visual spectacle also graced the closing concert in the Grote Kerk in Veere. Under a kaleidoscope of bright colors and fluttering wings (light projections by designer collective Blauwe Uur), pianist Tamara Stefanovich soloed in the brilliantly orchestrated Three Butterfly Dances by Peter-Jan Wagemans.
The Atlas butterfly passed in a dreamy soaring flight of sliding strings and Messiaen-esque piano chords that resounded in microtonally tuned echoes on tape. It’s also nice how Stefanovich portrayed the Nachtpauwoog with weightless pianists and swift decorations
Also on the program: the Piano Concerto (d-minor) composed by twelve-year-old Ferruccio Busoni in 1878. While the Italians, at a later age, navigated between early modernism and artistic Bach arrangements, Schubert and Mendelssohn were still models here. Whimsical early romance with the proto-pubescent heart on the tongue. With a powerful touch and driving interplay, Stefanovich and Amsterdam Sinfonietta created a compelling performance.