London calling the finale tune
A LONDON MARATHON FINALE CONCERT
Town Hall, Cheltenham
WHAT a stupendous and sublime finale to the Cheltenham Music Festival 2012. Time flew in this concert of all-English music by English composers with London connections.
Former director of the festival Martyn Brabbins conducted the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and they created a successful partnership and an exciting and polished performance.
Sunday and Monday evenings £12.00 per head for an all inclusive meal with Indian and Thai cuisine (normal price £14.50).
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Edward Elgar described his Cockaigne Overture as "cheerful and Londony – stout and steaky..........but not vulgar". Colourful and vibrant scoring kept all instrumental sections on their toes. This was pure Elgar with sweeping broad themes and contrasting tranquility interspersed with snapshots of London's sights and sounds vividly portrayed by the orchestra.
Old Father Thames featured predominantly in Holst's Hammersmith Suite. Moving slowly through the city a darker more haunting mood was initially created. A brighter scherzo conveyed the jostle and tumult of the busy city eventually returning to the silent flow of the river.
A rattle on the side drum and a trumpet call announced entry to the city in John Ireland's A London Overture before hurling into chaotic city life with an insistent timpani beat.
In complete contrast Hannah Kendall's premiere work Shard took a more contemporary view.
With music coursing through his veins Steven Isserlis extracted every ounce of lyricism and emotion from Elgar's Cello Concerto. Transferring his soul to his cello enabled him to bare Elgar's soul through the strings. From gossamer light to strong and emphatic his touch induced an empathetic orchestral response.
Programming Vaughan Williams' A London Symphony to conclude returned listeners to four contrasting moods of London.
How many composers or concert programmers can successfully and triumphantly close on pppp notes? Brilliant.