This blog will include my reviews of classical concerts, suggestions on similar music and pointers for first time listeners.
Honegger - Pacific 231
Honegger - Pastorale d’été
Bridge - There is a Willow Grows Aslant a Brook
Berg - Der Wein
Castiglioni - Inverno in-ver
Debussy - La Mer
A very varied programme last night may have been the cause for a less than full Royal Albert Hall, but that isn’t to say that the programme didn’t deliver. Opening with two Honegger works, Pacific 231 and Pastorale d’été, opened not only a french themed evening, but one full of program music.
Pacific 231 indulged Honegger’s obsession with trains, this piece depicting a steam train. It’s pace increased throughout as if we built up speed, with the horns doing a fantastic job of replicating the sound of a horn. Followed by Pastorale d’été, we’re transported to the Swiss alps by a stripped down orchestra (strings, single woodwind and horn,) where we’re treated to vista of sound, almost as if we watch elements of the alps pass us by.
Bridge’s There is a Willow Grows Aslant a Brook gave us a very concentrated representation of Gertrude’s speech in Hamlet, describing Ophelia’s death. It’s beautiful representation of the stream dominates, with brief allusions to Ophelia’s death portrayed by the oboe, moving us through this scene with a sense of calm.
Berg’s Der Wein concluded the first half, soprano Claire Booth showing us why she has got where she is today with a passionate performance.
It was after the interval however where that the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Oliver Knussen come into their own. Castiglioni’s Inverno in-ver creates winter scenes effectively, it’s variety of styles and techniques are refreshing, oddly cinematic in nature.
To end though, a classic, Debussy’s La Mer, with its waves of music washing over you, conjuring up effectively it’s subject matter. A fitting end to an incredibly well chosen programme.