Review: Bristol Metropolitan Orchestra at St George's by John Packwood (9/10)
FOR Saturday's concert William Goodchild presented a popular programme for a large audience. Three dances from Dvorak's Slavonic Dances were played superbly with lyrical fervour and there was a certain refinement and crispness also in the ensemble's performance.
Originally composed in 1903, after a disastrous premiere Sibelius completely revised his Violin Concerto and after intensive alterations it was given its first performance in 1905.
The work opens with pianissimo strings with the soloist announcing the theme followed by plenty of arpeggios and double stopping. The drama soon increases with luscious orchestration and some wild writing for the soloist. In the Adagio a short introduction leads into a singing solo line over pizzicato strings, in the middle section the violin plays ascending broken octaves. Widely known amongst violinists for its technical difficulty, the third movement offers some tremendous opportunity for virtuosic playing. The young local violinist Emil Huckle-Kleve with a gorgeous tone and faultless technique, gave a stunning performance which belied the fact that this was the first time he had played the concerto publicly.
The orchestra accompaniment was cleanly dramatic and all performers deserved the enthusiastic applause from the excited audience.
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"I give you my word of honour that never in my life have I been so contented, so proud, so happy in the knowledge that I have written a good piece." So wrote Tchaikovsky to his publisher after completion of his Symphony No. 6, which was suitably christened Pathetique by his brother Modeste.
Within months of writing this the composer was dead. The symphony had a hostile reception and this is supposed to have been instrumental in his suspected suicide.
The opening movement contains one of his loveliest themes and the superb strings brought out the pathos of the music with great feeling. The hectic march involved the whole orchestra before the emotional finale leading to the music dying away. This was a most effective performance with all sections showing their abilities.
Charismatic conductor William Goodchild once again produced a very professional performance from his players.