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Symphonic structure

The Hallé Orchestra plays Vaughan Williams in Derby,
reviewed by MIKE WHEELER


I suppose any performance of Vaughan Williams's London Symphony is going to be particularly poignant after 7 July, but this eloquent reading would have made a deep impression whatever the circumstances.

What was especially noticeable was conductor Cristian Mandeal's ability to see past the pictorial surface -- the Westminster chimes and so on -- to the symphonic structure underneath. From his calm, unhurried pacing of the slow opening to his powerful shaping of the climaxes this was an intensely involving experience. I have rarely heard the second movement played with such brooding intensity and concentration, while conductor and orchestra brought a wonderfully phantasmagorical feel to the nocturnal scherzo.

Cristian Mandeal
Cristian Mandeal

Earlier, Tchaikovsky's Serenade drew a striking combination of richness and clarity from the Hallé strings. Once again, dividing the violins left and right on the stage, as they seem to be doing regularly now, paid off, and there was an impressive depth of sonority in the cellos and basses.

The Hallé's Principal Horn, Laurence Rogers, was the nimble, but at first somewhat colourless, soloist in Mozart's 4th Horn Concerto. He seemed a bit uptight in much of the first movement, but he gradually relaxed, producing some splendidly extrovert rasps in the finale.

Copyright © 19 September 2005 Mike Wheeler, Derby UK


The concert reviewed above took place on 13 September 2005 at the Assembly Rooms, Derby, UK.

The Hallé Orchestra's next concert in Bridgewater Hall, Manchester, 6 October 2005 at 7.30pm, features music by Elgar (Overture Cockaigne and the Enigma Variations) and Richard Strauss (Tod und Verklärung and a selection of Lieder sung by soprano Anne Schwanewilms). Mark Elder conducts. Further details of this and other concerts at


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