Basel Sinfonietta

Basel Sinfonietta was formed in 1980, and explored with Mark a vast repertoire of works both familiar and unfamiliar, sometimes unconventional and even provocative.  Performances took place not only in many of the best Swiss concert halls, but also some very daring venues.  They introduced Mark to unusual repertoire – H K Gruber, S Revueltas, D Milhaud, A Honegger, F Martin, J Ibert and in particular unknown Weill and unknown Shostakovich, live performances of whose works were issued on CDs.  Mark’s first Gerard Hoffnung concerts were given with them in 1988.  His first silent film project, New Babylon, with music by Shostakovich, was also with them in 1989 as were further performances of New Babylon with them in 2011 to prepare for the Naxos premiere CD recording of the complete score later that year.  The film ‘Odna’, also with music by Shostakovich, had several performances in 2004 to prepare for a full DVD film recording.  Other silent films with the Sinfonietta were ‘The General’ (2002, 2006 and 2009) and ‘Safety Last’ (2010).  Mark’s interpretations of Shostakovich grew in stature thanks to Basel Sinfonietta’s highly rated performances of the Fifth Symphony, Second Cello Concerto (with Thomas Domenga) and the Suite for Variety Orchestra (aka Jazz Suite No. 2).  The 2012 E A Poe project, ‘The Fall of the House of Usher’ had a notable success.  The Swiss and German performances of the Debussy opera version reconstructed by Robert Orledge were premières in both countries.  The silent film version (1928) formed the second half of the programme and had a score specially composed by the Czech composer Varhan Bauer, which was also a world première.