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Fire and Energy

Matthew Coorey and the RLPO in Derby,
reviewed by MIKE WHEELER


The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra was here (Assembly Rooms, Derby, UK, 23 February 2006) with its former Assistant Conductor, now Conductor in Residence, Matthew Coorey, and you can see why they snapped him up. They began with one of the most intelligent performances of Strauss's Don Juan I think I've ever heard. It's easy enough to go barn-storming through this piece and make some kind of effect, but this was on a different level altogether. It was some time before you realised that Coorey's tempi were just a notch steadier than usual, allowing subtle refinement in the shaping of details. The central love scene was played with real tenderness -- this Don Juan really had lost his heart to his latest conquest, albeit temporarily. There was plenty of fire and energy where required, too.

The orchestra was joined by Coorey's fellow-Australian Diana Doherty for a neat, stylish performance of Mozart's Oboe Concerto, pert and lively in the outer movements, graceful and flowing in the central one.

Matthew Coorey
Matthew Coorey

The second half was devoted to Sibelius. After a Swan of Tuonela marked by subtle shadings of tone came a magnificent reading of the Fifth Symphony. Coorey clearly understands Sibelius's mastery of the art of transition. The steady acceleration in the first movement was finely judged, and the gradual emergence of the main theme in the finale was compelling.

This is clearly a partnership to watch.

Copyright © 9 March 2006 Mike Wheeler, Derby UK




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