High jinks and taxi horns
PROMS: NEW LONDON ORCHESTRA, LA PHILHARMONIC ROYAL ALBERT HALL
Wednesday 02 September 1998
Not a bit of it, however, with Ronald Corp firmly in charge of the conductor's baton. Renowned as the hero of the recent British light music revival, a choir trainer and himself a noted composer, Corp promised high jinks and taxi horns for his afternoon's entertainment - nothing to do with the White House, this, but relating instead to the opening and closing works of the concert, Gershwin's Girl Crazy overture, and his classic tone poem, An American in Paris.
Corp's New London Orchestra, led by David Juritz, caught the Tin Pan Alley mood of these scores to their last nuance. Readings that were full of ebullient personality sparkled with delicious brass and woodwind solos. Girl Crazy led to girl dowdy, music in glass-slipper mood, with spiky excerpts from Prokofiev's Cinderella ballet, and Rodgers' Cinderella Waltz, scored, or so it seemed, for solo side-drum and orchestra. Steven Osborne, rounding off the first half with his Proms debut in Shostakovich's Second Piano Concerto, offered much to admire in his shapely phrasing of the slow movement, and then the finale, delivered at breakneck tempo yet staying on the rails to the end.
After Kabalevsky's dashing Colas Breugnon overture - a welcome revival - Christopher Maltman, baritone, caught the childlike ease of five of Copland's Old American Songs - "Tis the Gift to be Simple" and "The Little Horses" especially - with touching informality.
The bi-national theme was continued in Sunday's evening Prom, the first of a pair from the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra and Esa-Pekka Salonen. His family hails from Polish and Lithuanian Russia, and Copland, doyen of American 20th-century composers, caught the essence of Mexican popular dance styles in El salon Mexico, opening the concert in spectacular style. With the brightness of West Coast sunshine in their playing, the Los Angeles band was well adapted to the clean-cut texture of this pellucid score. Its response to Copland's bouncy syncopations was vigorous and alert.
Both here and in the UK premiere of his own LA Variations, an homage to the city where he had made his home, Salonen conducted with energy and precision. His new piece, which is divided into 18 sections, used a schematic form of serial chords composed out into parcels of invention that were clearly defined by their different orchestral costumes. Though rhythmically vibrant, the score was also coloured by quieter inventions: for example, some impressive double bass writing at the end of section eight - impressively played.
The orchestra's fine bass tone was heard again in the brooding introduction of Stravinsky's Firebird ballet, which was sumptuously rendered in utter unity of purpose. Though somewhat thin on the ground for a holiday concert, the audience demanded an encore: Prokofiev's Death of Tybalt, delivered to its complete satisfaction.
Artists unveils new exhibition inspired by Hastings beachart
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Saneie Masilela, 9, marries Helen Shabangu, 53 years his senior, for the second time
- 2 Apple has installed security backdoors on 600m iPhones and iPads, claims security researcher
- 3 UK pirates will get four warning letters a year
- 4 Man takes most pointless Uber cab ride of all time
- 5 Is Gideon Levy the most hated man in Israel or just the most heroic?
Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley star in trailer for new Alan Turing film The Imitation Game
It looks like Krusty the Clown is the major Simpsons character death
Russell T Davies wants your 'sexcapades' for new web series Tofu about modern sex culture
Star Wars 7: Plot details 'leak', with sequel's opening sequence and premise revealed
Panic! At The Disco donate $1000 to gay rights group after Westboro Baptist Church picket
Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crash: 'Nine Britons, 23 Americans and 80 children' feared dead after Boeing passenger jet is 'shot down' near Ukraine-Russia border
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Vladimir Putin is given 'one last chance' to end hostilities in Ukraine
The 'scroungers’ fight back: The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Ukrainian military jet was flying close to passenger plane before it was shot down, says Russian officer
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: victims’ bodies bundled in black bags and loaded onto trains