Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Britten Sinfonia/QEH

Great concert at the QEH with the Britten Sinfonia who are on a real roll at the moment. They were directed by Pekka Kuusisto, a young Finnish violinist who clearly enjoys talking as much as he likes performing, playing his fiddle with all the ease of a folk musician. Two works by Purcell (the second of which had been arranged by Nico Muhly) merged beautifully with a movement from Tippett's 'Sellinger's Round'. I know the Tippett from the time I played with an amateur orchestra about twenty years ago. We performed it on a tour of Romania which included a trip to Brasov in Transylvania. It was snowing so only three people turned up (two English tourists and our coach driver). Happy days. Anyway, great to hear it again. So too was it to experience Mark Padmore's Les Illuminations that was full of drama and colour I hadn't heard before. It was certainly more Gallic than the Peter Pears version I was brought up with.

The very English first half was followed by three American offerings, Duet by Reich (whose music never sounds as convincing when performed along side other people's stuff), Nico Muhly's Impossible Things, a very assured piece that added some dark dimensions to poems by C.P Cavafy and carried off beautifully by Mark Padmore again, and finally John Adams Shaker Loops, that worked itself into a stunning frenzy. A 21st century classic. .

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