The anniversary of Sibelius’s death may have passed relatively unnoticed, but the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra chose to honour him with a full programme of his music last weekend. Perhaps this is because Maestro Jari Hamalainen, one of the newest conducting stars to come out of Finland was conducting (check him out on YouTube. ) Attracted though I was to hearing Sibelius conducted by a fellow Finn, I had never been to a concert featuring the works of only one composer before, especially a composer whose works I am not very familiar with. Would I be bored with Sibelius by half time I wondered? The answer is a resounding no. In fact it was a very satisfying experience, like having a three course meal of Sibelius so to speak.
The experience was helped along by the riveting performance of the violin concerto op .47 in D minor by the young Bulgarian violinist Bella Hristova, the 2007 winner of the Michael Hill International Violin Competition. I will certainly be looking to see where her career takes her. Unusually she has not only already won number of prestigious prizes, but has she also featured in O, The Oprah Magazine and Garrison Keillor’s Prairie Home Companion, so it could be an interesting journey. If you would like to hear her play try the Naxos database on our website.