Overview of BBC Philharmonic live performance 18th January 2020



I doubt there have been many listeners for whom
the actually memorable factor in Saturday’s BBC Philharmonic live performance was not The
Lark Ascending
, Vaughan Williams’ beautiful little tone poem of English open-air
tranquillity.

That its violin solo was performed with a sort
of pristine purity by Jennifer Pike was a part of the enjoyment of it. A lark, after
all, simply sings: it doesn’t do ‘expression’ or Romantic emotion. And but the heat
of tone from her D string was a surprise in itself – and the others equally lovely.

However the piece itself merely grabs you with
a couple of phrases that hold coming time and again: not literal birdsong, however like
birdsong of their guileless repetition.

Anna Clyne’s Night time Ferry, an English
creator’s work round 100 years newer (written in 2012) and already promoted to
the BBC’s Ten Items orchestral pantheon, shares that attribute. She’s
sensible at repetitive items (ostinati, I suppose) that provide you with
one thing speedy to acknowledge and dangle on to within the welter of sounds that
make up her rating. And there’s loads of info as to what it’s about –
she writes of poems describing a voyage at sea (a raging one, on the outset, it
appears), and he or she made a collage image to explain the identical form of expertise
of temper swings as she’s illustrating in 
her music (a duplicate for everybody equipped with their programme booklet).

‘Gewaltig viel Noten’, as Josef II as soon as
mentioned of one other composer’s work. Underneath Ben Gernon’s route the Philharmonic
labored carefully by way of what was additionally, to some extent, designed to be a
demonstration piece for giant orchestra.

Berlioz’ Symphonie Fantastique was
an attention-grabbing distinction. It’s additionally written for an enormous orchestra to play, and
additionally tells a narrative – one of many first works that sounds as if it’s written for
the theatre however is definitely a live performance piece. And it’s additionally attempting to uncover
elements of sad psychological expertise. It goes with out saying that it was performed
with vigour and large affect, although maybe there might have been room for
some extra subtlety in balancing the brass, string and wind cohorts alongside the
means.

Jennifer Pike (image: Tom Bangbala) and the BBC Philharmonic

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