Showing posts with label BBC Symphony Orchestra. Show all posts
Showing posts with label BBC Symphony Orchestra. Show all posts

Thursday, February 23, 2012

BREAKING NEWS: New chief conductor for BBC Symphony Orchestra is...

...It's Sakari Oramo. Rumblings yesterday about "a Finn" have left little surprise about this. Want to see who's about to be announced when an appointment's in the offing? Check who's been working with the orchestra recently, matches the nationality in question and got great reviews. Oramo was in town for a Sibelius cycle with the BBCSO in the autumn and the critics glowed with many-starred write-ups.

This is seriously good news for orchestra and conductor alike. Look at Oramo's track record with the CBSO: the odds were stacked against him when he took over from Rattle, yet he brought in a batonprint all his own, championing much British music - including resuscitating, almost single-handedly, the reputation of the long-lost John Foulds. He is a lovely character and a terrific musician: a Finn in tune with Britain, British music (he won the Elgar Medal in 2008) and contemporary music, all important concerns with the BBCSO. Read more about it here.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Bravissimo to Benjamin at the Prummm....

I don't think I'll ever forget hearing Benjamin Grosvenor's Proms debut last night. Especially his encore - of all things, a transcription by Cziffra of the Brahms Hungarian Dance No.5.

What is it with that lad? How does he do it? How does he know? Where does it all come from? I'm not usually a great subscriber to the notion of reincarnation, but if the soul of either Benno Moiseiwitsch or Ignaz Friedman decided to do a re-run in Britain about 19 years ago, it's very obvious where he landed. Just listen to this.



Alas, the rest of the concert didn't live up to its soloist, and I've said as much in today's Independent. The best - Benjamin - proved the enemy of the workaday. Honest to goodness, with the other major UK orchestras in their best-ever form from the Barbican and Festival Hall to Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham and Newcastle, with hungry, ambitious conductors turning up the electric heat, workaday is just not good enough. It never occurred to me before that Janacek's Glagolitic Mass could be as boring as that. It shouldn't be. Janacek is portraying a marvellous dream of marrying Kamila Stosslova. We got Czech dumplings. I'm pleased to see that the Last Night of the Proms is being conducted by Ed Gardner. Wish he'd conducted opening night too.