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Review: BBCSO - Kagel's Three Etudes @ Barbican

Posted by Weeping Tudor from Cardiff - Published on 24/02/2015 at 11:34
0 comments » - Tagged as Culture, History, Music, People, Sport & Leisure, Topical, Travel

  • Sophie Bevan

BBC Symphony Orchestra
Barbican Centre
Friday 6th February 2015

Prior to the massive event of Wagner's Mastersingers at the Coliseum, the Barbican was my destination for an evening with the BBC Symphony Orchestra.

With composer-conductor, Ryan Wigglesworth, things were off to a devastating start with the Three Etudes of Mauricio Kagel. Dealing with the ever-changeable and violent processes inside our minds, it creates stream of conscience musical scape. Murmuring yet violent, it's packed with heaps of percussion and is an orchestral explosion for an audience to come across.

Sophie Bevan graced the stage for a selection of Richard Strauss songs. The rich Germanic language of these songs are like slices of cheesecake for the ear. Bevan brings all the moods and passion into the words. Wiegenlied: a soothing cradle song, Meinem Kinde (To My Child): a sincere observation of a child's sleep, Cupid: a cheeky and excitable warning over romance, and Cecily: lamentable thoughts of an absent love. All this and more stirred up a splendid presence in the hall. The highlight of the evening.

[See here why Sophie Bevan became a singer]

The UK debut of Wigglesworth's new work was also put on the bill. In his Etudes-Tableaux, nothing really stood out, just conventional traits from a composer today. He retrieved the work from a withdrawn piece from a few years back. I can see how much the work meant to him as he conducted it. I will try and hear more music by him.

Lastly, Schumann's 3rd Symphony (Rhenish) ended proceedings. It was filled with much charm and pathos and was all very much enjoyed, apart from the fact that some audience members felt the need to applause after each movement, completely spoiling the last few bars of one of the latter parts.

An odd mix of music in this concert, which did not necessarily gel well for the listener.

Rating: 7/10

The concert is available here on BBC iPlayer till 8th March 2015.

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