Friday, 1 July 2011

Manchester, Classical Music and British Composers – Part Two: Summer Season 2011

Many of the events in this brochure have been and gone. However May 2011 was not a great month for British music. The Hallé gave Beethoven’s Overture: Egmont, Bruch’s inevitable Violin Concerto No.1 (he actually wrote three!) and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No.5. The Bolshoi Symphony Orchestra also concentrated (hardly surprisingly) on Tchaikovsky.
May 5 was a red letter day. After Sibelius’s En Saga and Prokofiev’s Second Piano Concerto, Mark Elder and the Hallé performed Elgar’s Enigma Variations. However the only British piece in their subsequent concert was that composer’s P&C No.4. The BBC Philharmonic played Haydn, Dvorak and Shostakovich, but nothing home-spun.

Andrew Wilde, on 11 May gave a recital of music by Chopin, Beethoven and Mozart. We can pass over Loudon Wainwright III.
Once again the Hallé came up trumps on 14 May. After a Handel Overture and Mozart’s Symphony No.39 in E flat major they performed one of Benjamin Britten’s masterpieces – Spring Symphony.
However their next outing was a concert of Sibelius, Rachmaninov, Rimsky-Korsakov and Stravinsky. Lang Lang ignored British music in favour of Beethoven, Albeniz and Prokofiev. (£56.17 for a ticket!!)
The Manchester Camerata played two works by Felix Mendelssohn – the Violin Concerto Op.64 and a narrated version of the Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Early June brought a performance of a single movement from Elgar’s Sonata in G for organ, played by Stephen Cleobury- why not the entire work?. The rest of the programme was Bach, Liszt and Widor. The Sixteen with Harry Christopher devoted their efforts to the music of Tomas Luis de Victoria.
The Royal Northern College of Music under Yan-Pascal Tortellier gave Bartok, Copland and Gershwin. On 29 June Trevor Pinnock & Friends will include Purcell’s Airs and Dances from The Fairy Queen. Bach and Handel make up the rest of the programme.
The Cheetham Symphony Orchestra will give works by Brahms and Berg, including the wonderful Violin Concerto with Fiona Robertson as soloist.
So the summer season is a little brighter from the British perspective with two undoubted masterworks –the Enigma Variations and the Spring Symphony.

The next post on this subject will consider the ‘International Series.’

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