Sydney Morning Herald 25 July 2014
Australian Brandenburg Orchestra with Dmitry Sinkovsky
City Recital Hall, July 23
There are the ‘‘triple-threat’’ artists – ones who can sing, dance and act – and then there is Dmitry Sinkovsky. The Russian violinist, who is guest director for the Australian Brandenburg’s third tour for 2014, is a charismatic performer on both violin and as a countertenor. He sings and dances as he plays, he conducts his own band, he teaches violin and viola at the Moscow Conservatoire, and he is probably a fabulous cook, or gifted writer, or mathematician, too. Glibness aside, Sinkovsky is the real deal: a passionate and adventurous musician with a slightly overwhelming array of talents.
What was most interesting about his Australian debut was his effect on the musicians around him. Paul Dyer has fashioned his band of baroque specialists into a tight-knit ensemble that breathes almost as one. Transparency, lightness of touch, fastidious attention to articulation and flawless intonation are their trademarks. With Sinkovsky at the helm, however, all this changed. The opening work, a violin concerto by Vivaldi, felt immediately unstable, with the continuo players chasing Sinkovsky’s mercurial tempi. In the second Vivaldi concerto there were a few struggles with pitch. Sinkovsky’s virtuosity was never in dispute, but his style of attack and his gung-ho approach momentarily robbed the Brandenburgs of their characteristic elan, turning the entire sound into something much more grubby, dangerous and, dare I say it, exciting.
After the interval came the promised party trick: Sinkovsky-the-singer gave a splendid performance of Cessate, omai cessate, doubling on violin for one verse. His strong, sure alto voice and fiery stage presence were just as compelling as his violin playing.
During a well-earned break for Sinkovsky, principal cellist Jamie Hey was soloist and director in another Vivaldi concerto. The contrast was notable: Hey’s direction was assured and his playing understated, resulting in an intimate and very lovely performance. Less dazzle, but no less beauty.
This concert is repeated in Sydney on July 25, 26, 30 and August 1, and in Melbourne on August 2 and 3.