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Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra – Huddersfield Town Hall

Conductor: Jakub Hrusa

Soloist : Yevgeny Sudbin

Reviewer: Matt Stimpson

[rating:4]

Founded in 1840 the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra is the UK’s oldest professional symphony orchestra. The orchestra is rightly proud of this heritage, but is also one of the most forward thinking orchestras, with some excellent outreach programmes, and work with Classic FM, as the stations Orchestra in the North West of England.

Tonight, the programme is Smetana’s Wallenstein’s Camp, Mozart’s Piano Concerto No.24 in C Minor, K.491 and Dvorak’s Symphony No.9 in E minor, Opus 95 From the New World.

Czech composer Smetana is famous for his tone poem, Ma Vlast, tonight’s Wallenstein Camp is a tone poem, and shows that people should delve deeper into the repertoire of the composer. The piece is based on Schiller’s plays about General Albrecht von Wallenstein, it is split into 4 main sections.

From the opening chords, the orchestra has a real unity of purpose, with fantastic articulation, some excellent playing from around the stands, with the acoustics of this wonderful venue bringing the best out of the Orchestra. At times the balance of the orchestra needs to make a little more of the string section in the louder passages, but some of the quieter playing shows much sensitivity, and each section demonstrates beautiful work.

The Orchestra welcomes pianist Yevgeny Sudbin on stage for Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 24 in C minor. Sudbin has a fantastic reputation, with critically acclaimed albums including winning the Daily Telegraph’s CD of the year.

Mozart moved to Vienna in 1781, writing prolifically for Piano in this time, to impress Viennese society with his compositions. The Concerto in C minor is one of only two Mozart composed in a minor key.

The smaller classical Orchestra takes to the stage to lead the opening, before Sudbin joins with bold statements. He plays with a real sense of style and purpose, and the performance features excellent interplay between soloist and orchestra. Occasionally there are moments where orchestra and Soloist aren’t 100% together, but the virtuosic playing, with a real sensitivity to the melodic lines more than makes up for this, in a highly accomplished performance.

The second half features Dvorak’s Symphony No.9 in E minor, a piece written at the request of Mrs Jeanette Thurber after Dvorak moved to America. It is loosely built around folk music of America, but it is clear the music is also reminiscent of Czech folk music.

The performance is the highlight of the evening, with some truly stunning playing. Every section of the orchestra shines, with such exciting playing throughout. The fanfares of the brass, the thundering scalic figures of the strings, the drive of the percussion and the breathtaking beauty of the woodwind section, particularly the Cor Anglais playing of Rachael Pankhurst in the second movement encapsulates this wonderful performance.

The piece cleverly interweaves the main themes of the Symphony, with the fourth movement showing the Orchestra in fine form.

Tonight’s concert gets better as the evening develops, the New World Symphony is simply breath taking. A fitting end to the Kirklees Concert Season 2011-12.

 

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