Walker, Harding, LSO, classical review: A worthy tribute to Claudio Abbado
Monday 24 February 2014
There’s no stopping Huw Watkins, who complements his activities as a pianist and professor with a steady stream of new compositions: string quartets, song cycles, chamber operas, and this week a flute concerto.
The assumed imbalance of forces in such an idea puts most composers off, but with the aid of Adam Walker, the remarkable young flautist for whom this work was written, Watkins has managed to bring flute and orchestra into something approaching parity.
If there are echoes of Bartokian night-music in the slow movement, the work as a whole has a vernal freshness. Looking as elegant as he sounded, Walker had as many notes to play as the rest of the orchestra put together, and his non-stop stream of birdsong was presented with a virtuosity which was discreet rather than showy (no flamboyant flutter-tonguing, or shakuhachi effects).
Under Daniel Harding’s direction the London Symphony Orchestra cast a matching spell, at one point answering the flute’s busy monologue with a ravishing blend of high strings, woodwind, and harp.
With its own inbuilt birdsong, Mahler’s First Symphony was a perfect sequel, and, in their precision of detail and command of big forms, Harding and the LSO made this a worthy tribute to their concert’s dedicatee, Claudio Abbado.
Game of Thrones
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Barbarians vs Samoa interrupted by sprinklers as fans criticise lack of Wi-Fi and poor seating at West Ham's Olympic Stadium
- 2 Watch the Supermoon live: How to see the brightest Moon of the year tonight
- 3 Hulk Hogan wants to be Donald Trump's running mate in the US Presidential election
- 4 Blood Moon and Supermoon: September to bring brightest – and dimmest – full Moon of the year on same night
- 5 David De Gea to Real Madrid: Real finally get their man with £29m bid for Manchester United goalkeeper
Game of Thrones season 6: Jon Snow theorists believe Ned Stark's son may have a twin sister
Edinburgh Fringe 2015: Monty Python-inspired Australian Sam Simmons wins comedy award with 'very silly' show
X Factor hopeful Mason Noise: 'How is Cheryl Fernandez-Versini in the music business, let alone a judge?'
Game of Thrones season 6: Director promises most exciting premiere yet 'starts off with a bang'
Star Wars: The Force Awakens: Online toy marathon to launch new film
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
'Women only' train carriages: Jeremy Corbyn unveils radical move to tackle public harassment
Black holes are a passage to another universe, says Stephen Hawking
Iain Duncan Smith 'should resign over disability benefit death figures', says Jeremy Corbyn
Tony Blair attacks Jeremy Corbyn's 'Alice In Wonderland' politics
Theresa May says jobless migrants should be banned from entering the UK