Three more 'B's and a lady conductor

What is it with conductor Marin Alsop and the letter 'B'? Last time I heard her it was Barber, Bruch and Beethoven: yesterday evening it was Britten, Barber and Beethoven. Perhaps she's working through the alphabet - how long will it take her to get to Zemlinsky, Zandonai and Zelenka?

Facetiousness aside, the London Philharmonic and Ms. Alsop were on fine form for the three works. Benjamin Britten's Variations of a Theme of Frank Bridge is for string orchestra and was written when the composer was 23: the variations include parodies of a Viennese waltz, a funeral march and an Italina aria and end with a Fugue.

Samuel Barber's violin concerto was written in 1939 and has established itself in the repertoire: the lyrical first two movements are capped with a dazzling finale. (You can hear brief extracts on this page.) It was played with affection and skill by Yossif Ivanov, who capped his performance with an encore - a spectacular piece including double-and triple stopping: of course as it was an encore I don't know what it was. [UPDATE: a reader has kindly identified this as Ballade by Eugenè Ysaye.]

The concert ended with Beethoven's Seventh Symphony. For my taste the first and last movements were just a fraction too fast; and as always I felt that the large modern orchestra was a little heavy for the work: but it was an enjoyable performance with a rousing finale.

Posted: Sat - April 14, 2007 at 07:53 AM by Roger Wilmut          



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Published On: Mar 11, 2016 05:00 PM