Despite switching half its announced program, the Northern Sinfonia lived up to expectations Friday at Kansas University.
The orchestra, under the direction of noted horn player and conductor Barry Tuckwell, played to an appreciative audience in the Crafton-Preyer Theatre in Murphy Hall as part of the KU Concert Series.
The 23-member Sinfonia, which hails from Newcastle-Upon-Tyne in England, performed three pieces in the classical mode and one contemporary work.
In the first part, Korean violinist Young Uck Kim joined the ensemble for Mozart's Violin Concerto in G Major, replacing a Mozart concerto in A Major, one of the two works switched. Kim gave a passionate, elaborate performance in the concerto, and the Sinfonia strings played well alongside.
THE SINFONIA returned in the second part with Mozart's Symphony No. 29 in A major; the finale, or fourth movement, was especially invigorating, as the ensemble navigated the relatively long piece.
Opening the program was the Sinfonia in E-flat Major by Johann Christian Bach, a dandy little clasical piece first published in 1773. J.C. Bach, the 10th child of Johann Sebastian Bach, proved in this piece he fit right in stylistically with the greater composers Haydn and Mozart. The second movement, the adanti con sordini, was performed with great delicacy, again by the strings.
The second part opened with a piece by a composer named David Matthews; it was a substitute for the promised "Ode'' by British composer Robin Holloway. Matthews' work alternated between a contemporary-sounding clash of strings and what sounded like the score for a car chase.
THE PIECE put a lot of pressure on the two horn players, and they lived up to the occasion, even winning applause from the string players.
As an encore, the Sinfonia performed the final movement from Benjamin Britten's "Simple Symphony,'' ending an upbeat concert on an upbeat note.