PROMS / National Youth Orchestra - Royal Albert Hall / R3

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The Independent Culture
Had the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain over- reached itself at last? The first work in its Prom on Sunday, Berg's Three Pieces for Orchestra, suggested that it might. The notes were there, the balance was on the whole good, but it was a distinctly uncompelling experience: little atmosphere, and still less feeling for the melodic sweep that draws fragmentary phrases together.

But in Mahler's Resurrection Symphony (appropriately enough) the spirit of NYO Proms past returned. The faux-naf dance music of the Andante could have been more stylish, and sometimes emotive phrases stopped short of full flowering; but the sense of involvement deepened as the symphony progressed, so much so that passages where tension can flag worked beautifully.

Jean Rigby's culminating duet with Lesley Garrett grew in strength and ardour, while the final choral-orchestral promise of universal resurrection thundered with conviction. With woodwind and brass sections even bigger than Mahler asks for (three tubas instead of Mahler's one), reinforced by the BBC Welsh Chorus, Bach Choir and the full weight of the Albert Hall organ, this was a delightful climax.

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