qatsi (qatsi) wrote,

It's Grim Up North

Last night's concert had something of a Nordic theme, starting with Mendelssohn's overture The Hebrides. It was followed by the UK premiere of Sir Peter Maxwell Davies' Violin Concerto No. 2. I seem to have heard quite a few violin concerti this year; that of Philip Glass remains the favourite. This one was good in parts, with dark, brooding sections and some lyrical folk-inspired tunes, but also had a fair bit of dissonance which wasn't really to my taste. It was interesting to hear him in the pre-Prom talk speak of his experience conducting at the Proms in 1969, which turned into a radio news item describing a "disturbance" at the Royal Albert Hall (apparently much of the audience walked out and there were many "boo"s at the end of the performance). No such fate last night; I think the work was generally accepted, enthusiastically by some, less so by others.

The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra had been conducted by "Max" himself in the first half, but switched to Garry Walker for the second half, an excellent performance of Sibelius' Symphony No. 5. Despite a mobile phone incident right at the start, this was a sparkling performance; in particular the sudden end of the first movement reverberated effectively around the Hall. Perhaps in my position the cello section somewhat overwhelmed the brass in the second and third movements - though I note on the Radio 3 message boards someone is complaining it was the other way round, which probably means it was just about right.
Tags: music
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