Jonathan Dove is a composer refreshingly devoid of vanity: his style is tonal, and he aims above all to be useful, with a prolific output of community and youth operas for regions which classical music doesn’t normally reach.
His new work Gaia Theory was inspired by the books of James Lovelock: by the idea of Earth as a self-regulating organism, with ‘everything dancing together to achieve this balance’. He wanted to imagine ‘what Gaia theory might sound like as music’.
That sound made its first appearance as a dusting of high woodwind and light percussion, before settling into a series of repetitive grooves.
Initial thoughts of Steve Reich were dispelled as one realised that this music was not going to play intricate games with rhythm; there were echoes of Stravinsky, but without the excitement or tension; it was all very pleasant, with no hidden depths, and the audience loved it.
Ingrid Fliter was the soloist in Mozart’s Piano Concerto in A major K 488, delivering the opening Allegro with relaxed lyricism and a warm, full tone.
But in the middle of an exposed passage in the Adagio she suddenly got lost, and floundered desperately for two or three bars.
A ghastly moment, from which Josep Pons and the BBC Symphony Orchestra helped her recover with consummate professionalism.