LSO / Colin Davis, Barbican, London
Wednesday 09 February 2005
To thoroughly misquote Mark Twain, rumours of the death of classical music have been grossly exaggerated.
To thoroughly misquote Mark Twain, rumours of the death of classical music have been grossly exaggerated. But anyone who'd listened to BBC Radio 3's Music Matters discussion on Sunday on the fate of classical music - or, more precisely, classical-music criticism - would have been forgiven their surprise in discovering a huge crowd at the Barbican for the evening's concert. And many of them were young.
Classical music is currently suffering a mega-bout of jitters in this country. It's the British disease: undermine that which you do best. And how dangerous it is: prophecies have a way of fulfilling themselves.
The LSO's concert was a triumph in (almost) every way. Their hugely enterprising Ambassador scheme, very much on view, encourages the young to find the young, allowing any bone fide student a ticket to certain concerts for £4.50 providing they text in their request. So this felt like a family concert; not so much for families but as a family, the siblings and cousins strutting their stuff to each other and to the young outsiders, all under the wonderfully wise guidance of Papa Colin Davis. It is the orchestra's centenary year, and nothing could display better the extraordinary level of the LSO's players than letting them individually take centre stage.
Karl Jenkins's Quirk, receiving its world premiere, is the third of the LSO's four centenary commissions. These are the result of particular section-principals nominating the composer of their choice. Jenkins's three-movement work, a triple concerto for flute, percussion and keyboards, was expertly played by principals Gareth Davies, Neil Percy and John Alley. From the composer of Adiemus, it's soft-centred stuff, superbly written technically, totally approachable, and skilfully empty. The crowd loved it.
Haydn's Symphony No 72 - quite probably written long before this late-ish numbering might indicate - is a show-off piece; the Esterhazy orchestra had just had their number of horns doubled. The LSO's four were in fine fettle, even if, despite valves, the taming of these creatures is woefully difficult.
The slow movement had Carmine Lauri, concert-master for the evening, and Martin Parry, sub-principal flute, duetting elegantly; the last movement's variations again featured solo flute, violin and cello (with fine playing from Moray Welsh) and a double-bass variation, spectacularly performed by Rinat Ibragimov.
But pride of place goes to the LSO's "normal" concert-master, Gordan Nikolitch, whose performance as soloist in Brahms's Violin Concerto was simply titanic. Unsurprisingly, there was a palpable sense of support and togetherness from the orchestra and Sir Colin, who established broad, spacious tempi that gave Nikolitch ample space to give his enormously passionate reading. It was exhilarating, the thunderous applause absolutely right. Who says classical music's dead?
Game of Thrones
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don't change Europe's attitude to refugees, what will?
- 2 Senior British politicians tell David Cameron: When dead children are being washed up on beaches – it's time to act
- 3 Make your voice heard: Sign The Independent's petition to welcome refugees
- 4 Refugee crisis: Aylan's life was full of fear - in death, he is part of 'humanity washed ashore'
- 5 German police forced to ask public to stop bringing donations for refugees arriving by train
The real reason Eddie Redmayne was cast as a trans woman in The Danish Girl
First Look at Bryan Cranston transformed into LBJ for HBO’s ‘All the Way’ film
Idris Elba is ‘too street’ to play 007, says James Bond author
This little boy loves books so much that he cries when his mother stops reading to him
Does this Game of Thrones season 6 filming location give away an important character death?
Senior British politicians tell David Cameron: When dead children are being washed up on beaches – it's time to act
Jeremy Corbyn calls Osama bin Laden's killing a 'tragedy' - but was it taken out of context?
If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don't change Europe's attitude to refugees, what will?
If you're not already angry about the refugee crisis, here's a history lesson to remind you why you really should be
Britain to take more refugees as Cameron bows to pressure after more than 100,000 back our campaign
Theresa May says migrants should be banned from entering the UK unless they have jobs lined up