RPO at Cadogan Hall

Cadogan Hall , just north of London's Sloane Square, was originally built in 1907 as a Christian Scientist Church. Falling congregations led to it being bought by the Cadogan Estate and refurbished as a modern concert hall. Whatever their odd religious beliefs, the Christian Scientists were shrewd enough to hire a good architect and the hall makes a comfortable and attractive venue. It's medium-sized, holding an audience of 900, and so provides nearer the concert experience that many composers would have expected than huge modern venues such as the Royal Festival Hall. The acoustic (which has been improved by some special treatment) is warm and pleasant, though not as detailed as the two South Bank halls.

The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra has made the hall its home and yesterday evening gave a concert which included Beethoven's 5th Piano Concerto (the 'Emperor'), played by Hee Jin Kim, and Vaughan Williams's 5th Symphony: the concert was conducted by Christopher Warren-Green.

With the advent of CDs, where note-perfect performances can be achieved by multiple takes and careful editing, we have all become used to peformances without fluffs: but they do happen in real life. Last night they happened rather often - not serious errors, but the sort of minor fluffing where the pianist hits an adjacent note quietly. In a very well-known work such as the Beethoven this becomes rather noticeable. I felt that Kim's left hand was a little weak throughout, the performance tending to favour the upper hand: but much of the playing was forceful and brilliant, and the work received an enthusiastic ovation. It was being recorded, presumably for the RPO's own label; but I would doubt whether the catalogues need yet another recording of this concerto.

The microphones had been de-rigged for the Vaughan Willams 5th Symphony, which was inspired by Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress: the orchestra gave a magnificent performance, balancing the work's introspection and passion. This was the part of the concert they ought to have recorded.

Download a Google Earth placemark for Cadogan Hall

Posted: Tue - November 28, 2006 at 09:33 AM by Roger Wilmut          



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Published On: Mar 11, 2016 05:00 PM