Review: Prom 29: Bavouzet, BBC Phil, Collon - Royal Albert Hall, London

French selection soars and sparkles

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The Independent Culture

This fascinating Prom began with a Mozart work which opera audiences sometimes hear but never listen to – the long dance suite which rounds off Idomeneo: not a masterpiece, but worth getting to know. Then Jean-Efflam Bavouzet took the solo part in Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G major, making the Gershwinesque first movement infectiously jazzy before delivering the problematic Adagio as though it were no problem at all: in most hands the melodic line drifts limply, but Bavouzet gave it shape. After despatching the finale with panache, he gave a brilliant Pierné encore.

There followed a new orchestration by Christopher Dingle of Messiaen’s Oiseau Tui: diamond-bright and diamond-hard, this intricate four-minute work was terse and gripping. Stravinsky’s middle-period Symphony in Three Movements came next, its contours pellucidly brought out by Nicholas Collon and the BBC Philharmonic.

Then came another new four-minute gem: Colin Matthews’ orchestral arrangement of Ravel’s Oiseaux Tristes, whose delicate suggestiveness made one wish for much more. Ravel’s La Valse ended the evening in exhilarating style.

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