Canadian violinist Karen Gomyo has built up a huge fan base over the past few years and it is easy to see why. At 35 she combines an attractive and inclusive stage manner with a wonderful technique – her mellow-toned 1703 Aurora Stradivarius seems like an extension of her body.
So when in the latest of the Sunday afternoon Utzon Series she appeared with Australian pianist Timothy Young in the less intimate setting of the Sydney Opera House Playhouse, the bright intimacy of the Utzon Room may have been sacrificed but nothing else was.
In fact, with nearly twice the seating capacity, there was room for even more fans, including a rather loud baby who was miraculously silenced when the concert started with the sunny outpouring of Antonio Vivaldi’s Sonata for Violin and Continuo in A Major RV31.
In an afternoon of highlights perhaps the most surprising piece was the Soviet-German Alfred Schnittke’s Suite in the Old Style, gleaned from his music for a couple of film scores. The five movements – Pastorale, Ballet, Minuet, Fugueand Pantomime– are mock Mozart at its finest and Schnittke only shows his bleaker dissonant side very briefly at the end of the work.