International Conductors’ Academy of the Allianz Cultural Foundation, Royal Festival Hall
Writer and broadcaster Edward Seckerson is Chief Classical Music and Opera Critic for The Independent. He wrote and presented the long-running BBC Radio 3 series Stage & Screen, in which he interviewed many of the most prominent writers and stars of musical theatre. He appears regularly on BBC Radio 3 and 4. On television, he has commentated a number of times at the Cardiff Singer of the World competition. He has published books on Mahler and the conductor Michael Tilson Thomas, and has been on Gramophone Magazine's review panel for many years. Edward presented the 2007 series of the Radio 4 music quiz Counterpoint. He has interviewed everyone from Leonard Bernstein to Liza Minelli; from Paul McCartney to Pavarotti: from Julie Andrews to Jessye Norman.
Monday 16 April 2012
A showcase for three young conductors, a malfunction at the printers, and for the first time in my experience no programmes for the audience and the prospect of blind-tasting their talents.
Now there’s a thought - no names revealed, no information on their pedigree, and no knowledge of who was conducting what until we’d heard what they were made of. One almost regretted the arrival of makeshift programmes by the interval.
Would I have thought differently of Thomas Blunt’s account of Mozart’s Symphony No.35 “Haffner” had I not known that he had assisted Vladimir Jurowski and served as Chorus Master at Glyndebourne from 2006-2009? Probably not. But both those roles had given him first hand experience with the orchestra of the night - the London Philharmonic - and disappointingly I didn’t feel he seized that advantage. His reading of the symphony was a curiously “back to the future” affair, rather heavy on its feet and overweighted in terms of trumpets and drums. Yes, it leaned towards the work’s romantic aspirations with the furtiveness of the first movement development sounded more expansively and mysteriously than is customary and the slow movement was a protracted stage drama. But the expression was rather generalised and only in the last movement did the playing feel energised.
Domingo Hindoyan - who came out of the now legendary El Sistema project in Venezuela - had two bites of the cherry, the first and most challenging being to serve John Lill in Beethoven’s Second Piano Concerto. This suave and self-assured young man, a tall and rangy presence, immediately exhibited his skills in a shapely opening paragraph, the martial atmosphere crisply maintained with a frisson of excitement in the clinching crescendo. Lill is a past master of Beethovenian “distillation” and Hindoyan was at one with him in capturing the mystical spareness of their exchanges in the slow movement. Hindoyan has expertise but he has temperament, too, and in Julian Anderson’s Past Hymns it was the Tippett-like fervour of its Spiritual allusions that gave the piece real attitude and took it somewhere else entirely.
The dapper Ward Stare is already installed as Resident Conductor at the Saint Louis Symphony and his accomplished account of the evening’s most demanding piece - Stravinsky’s Symphony in C - was cool, collected, super-clear in its intentions, and often beautiful - nowhere more so than in the valedictory (and exceedingly tricky) wind chordings of the closing bars.
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
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Asteroid narrowly scrapes past Earth: how to watch the closest space rock for decades as it flies by
- 2 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 3 The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
- 4 British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
- 5 Watch Richard Dawkins read his own hatemail: 'I hope you do get sodomised by satanic monkeys in hell'
Mr Selfridge series 3: Actress Kara Tointon says 'we're starting to see his demise'
Ed Sheeran texts Noel Gallagher to offer him tickets after Wembley Stadium rant
Benedict Cumberbatch says Hollywood is better for black British actors
Emma Watson to play Belle in Beauty and the Beast
Sia apologises for 'Elastic Heart' music video that sees Shia LaBeouf wrestle 12-year-old Maddie Ziegler
'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
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
Islamic history is full of free thinkers - but recent attempts to suppress critical thought are verging on the absurd
30,000 reasons why the rhetoric on immigrants claiming benefits can stop now