Classical: Sadly second rate
CHARLES IVES BOURNEMOUTH SO POOLE
Tuesday 15 December 1998
This early, delightful amalgam of Brahms and Dvorak, with American tunes steadily stirred into the mixture to make it rise to some glorious moments of mayhem, is repertoire material in its home country, but I can't recall ever hearing it in concert here. Richard Bernas - American, and known chiefly as a conductor of contemporary music - bravely took on the full programme as advertised.
An all-Beethoven first half didn't get things off to a good start. A raw and rhythmically rocky "Namensfeier" Overture was followed by the Violin Concerto, in which the soloist was the young, upcoming German, Isabelle Faust. She's an extremely efficient player, though suffering from a certain inflexibility of tone and occasional intonational lapses. On this showing, Faust lacks the ability to phrase characterfully, or to engage the listener from moment to moment, or with much feeling for overall structure.
In the Ives, the BSO's sometimes rough-and-ready sound, from the strings in particular, gave a not inappropriately elemental edge to the proceedings. Bernas shaped this five-movement, quite complex symphony with real finesse, too, building powerfully towards the zany climaxes of the second movement which had an explosive impact.
While such imaginative programming is to be commended, music by living composers plays a sadly small part in this year's main season. All the more welcome, then, is Kokoro, a 20th-century ensemble which is the initiative of the percussionist Kevin Field and some of his fellow performers. The group's late-night concert on Wednesday included alert, performances of Stravinsky's Septet and Ravel's "Introduction and Allegro" and, sensibly imitating Birmingham's scheme of commissions paid for by members of the audience, the premiere of Colin Riley's evocative "Taking Leaves".
Despite the BSO's stabilisation grant from the Arts Council, the abandonment of the ambitious plans for a regular new venue in Bristol has led to the departure of Anthony Woodcock, the orchestra's managing director, for the US. Yakov Kreizberg, the principal conductor who is currently "on sabbatical", is also missed. Right now, it has to be admitted that the BSO doesn't sound like the orchestra with international potential that he has steered for the past three years.
Art Piece taken off website amid 'severe security alert'
Maisie Williams single-handedly rises to the challengeTV
Academy criticised after no non-white actors nominated
tvAn expose of hooliganism masquerading as an ideological battle
artLee Hadwin can't draw when he's awake, but by night he's an artist
‘Remember the attackers are a cold-blooded, crazy minority’, says Blek le Rat
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 The truth about 'girl things': Three cheers for Heather Watson's honesty
- 2 Man who held up 'hire me' sign at Waterloo station returns a year later with 'I'm hiring' sign
- 3 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 4 Tennis fan suing Australian Open organisers for 'failing to shade spectators' during Murray match
- 5 Syrian refugee child beaten by Istanbul Burger King manager for eating customer’s leftover food
Heavy metal producer's corpse to be mutilated by models as per his dying wish
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction
Alfred Hitchcock's unseen Holocaust documentary to be screened
Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
Photographer Matt Lankes' portraits of the cast of Boyhood influenced the film's storyline
British Muslim leaders outraged after Eric Pickles says followers of Islam should 'prove their identity'
UK terror fears: My jihadist son returned from Syria mentally scarred – now he is being ignored
Nigel Farage: NHS might have to be replaced by private health insurance
Billy Crystal: 'Stop shoving gay sex scenes in my face'
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners