Review: Cardiff Philharmonic Orchestra - Classics For All @ SDH
After getting over the disappointment of missing the BBC National Orchestra of Wales’ inaugural concert with conductor Thomas Sï¿½ndergï¿½rd, it seemed another concert would have to fill the void. The Cardiff Philharmonic Orchestra has 30 years under its belt and I have amazingly only ever been to one previous concert of theirs. I’m sure that was their 25th anniversary. So I have been there for their recent milestone concerts then, I guess.
One thing that took me back was just how informal these concerts were. Having gone to countless concerts with BBC NOW, it was a shock in some ways. Saint David’s Hall was half full, which I suppose represents the orchestra’s amateur status. The players wore the usual attire of suits, bow tie and so on. Of course, those who have gone to the BBC concerts would have known that the players there have had seasons of not wearing bow ties but rather ties instead (riveting I know!). They like to try out new things and the venture is always welcome if not always successful.
Battling with awful earache, I was looking forward to the programme. The starting piece was the Candide Overture by Leonard Bernstein. Based on Voltaire’s novella, this curious musical/opera (which flopped on Broadway just as My Fair Lady was emerging as a hit) this rambunctious and meandering overture gives a taste of the shows musical delights.
The concerto for the evening was Saint-Saï¿½ns’ 2nd Piano Concerto, played by fresh-faced David Doidge. The work is the favourite piano concerto of his in the repertoire. It’s doesn’t excite me as some of his other work does, but retained a certain charm and dignity.
To finish off the evening was Mahler’s 1st Symphony. I have a sort of love-hate relationship with Mahler’s music. This is music that would only lead to better symphonies. I recommend listening to the last movement of his 3rd. He did not write better than this in my opinion. But his first baffled the audiences of the first performance with its fluffy naive side as opposed to the brooding angst that can linger in just when you least expect it. A mournful funeral march can go hand-in-hand with a joyful and effervescent scherzo. The sound is very Austrian and can unsurprisingly evoke the crisp cool air of The Alps.
I’m no musician but they did miss a few notes, if my ears didn’t fail me, bar earache. Support it seems is what they need. But I doubt I would hurry back to another one of their concerts.