This was a very smart move from the Barbican. As one of the last 20th century mainstream operas it had been premiered though all America and Europe but the UK premiere was still waiting. So the Barbican took the Teatro Real production that has been staging this month in Madrid: singers, conductor, director, stage design, costumes… everything but the orchestra, choir and sets and brought it to London. That meant minimal rehearsal times and minimal cost resulting in an almost fully-stage opera at very low price.
This was the second collaboration between the Spanish pianist Javier Perianes and the BBC Symphony Orchestra after 2017 Prom 51. This time was even better because the good work done by the young conductor James Feddeck. The American took much care to perfectly align the orchestra with Perianes in the Ravel piano concerto in G. The performance had the perfect balance between lyricism and the jazz influenced rhythm games. Before that we enjoyed a not so frequent Barber 1st symphony.
Josep Pons, the current Gran Teatre del Liceu director, has championed Manuel de Falla music since his first recording for Harmonia Mundi in the early 90s. Probably is the most experienced living conductor for this music. He did a fantastic job getting the BBC Symphony Orchestra to play in such an idiomatic way for a work so peculiar that in different senses. First it mixes the classical music world with the flamenco world though a real flamenco singer.
The final concert of the Sibelius symphonies full cycle was the best. Previous symphonies performances were from good to very good but the 7th and 2nd played this night were excellent. The magical tonality experiments around C on the 7th were exposed with perfect transparency and precision even with joy. In between the symphonies Finnish soprano Anu Komsi sang Sibelius own Luonnotar and the UK premiere of Aarre Merikanto Ekho. She did it well and Oramo perfectly did the concertante parts in the orchestra (that is, better than expected).
Festive concerto to celebrate Finland independence 100th anniversary. In the programme seminal works for Finland as a nation and for Sibelius as a composer: Press Celebrations Music (UK premiere!), Cantique and Devotion and the 1st symphony. It was really nice to listen to Press Celebrations Music, the work which included originally the famous Finlandia piece. Sakari Oramo did a wonderful job conducting the BBC Symphony Orchestra with precision and enthusiasm.
Double interest on this BBC Symphony Orchestra: a first part full of interesting and not so frequent work and the continuation of Sibelius symphonic cycle by Sakari Oramo. And result were quite good. Florent Schmitt Symphony No.2 is a very interesting work, mixing the modern music feeling with the traditional tonality easiness. The rich percussion writing was perfect to showcase an orchestra in its best and a conductor that feels like in home while exposing this rhythm structures.
Very interesting programme in the opening night for the BBC Symphony Orchestra with his chief conductor Sakari Oramo and violinist Alina Pogostkina. The core of it was Sibelius’ 5th symphony, part of the All Sibelius Symphonies theme planned for this season. Why opening the series with the 5th and not doing in order? Maybe to match the next day 6th and 7th performed by Philharmonia and Esa-Pekka Salonen? That would be incredible complicity between London orchestras :)
I was successful in the Last Night of the Proms Five-Concert Ballot so I attended the most wanted concert in Britain. Of course expectations were high but keeping in mind the kind of party-concert it was supposed to be. The work the BBC commissioned to Lotta Wennäkoski was a interesting start for the night. Much more interesting Kodály’s Budavári Te Deum. I always wonder why Kodály music is not more frequent in western countries concerts.
Typical structure of fucking-scaring-new-work + not-so-easy-repertoire + classical-easy-hit. But the fucking-scaring-new-work, Sinfonia (for Orbiting Spheres), as expected from an enfant terrible as Missy Mazzoli with her PJ Harvey look, was not scaring at all. Actually was much more conservative and traditional than expected. It was also nice full of very interesting composition ideas. Only downside, as many contemporary composers, Mazzoli was trying to do a full showcase of all her composing abilities, stealing from the work some coherence and narrative speech.
Two concerts in one: * Saint‐Saëns 2nd piano concerto * Elgar-Payne 3rd symphony because these works have nothing to do and it’s quite difficult to find a narrative link between them to be in the same programme. And two disclaimers: * Above Perianes’s picture is not from the concert itself but from a previous one * I took too long to write this review again because of… whatever 2 disclaimers, 2 concerts, 2nd piano concert… so let’s say there was a 3rd work completing the programme with Elgar 3rd symphony.