Much to Enjoy
A concert by the Philharmonia of the Nations,
reviewed by MIKE WHEELER
The Philharmonia of the Nations was founded by conductor Justus Frantz in 1995, prompted by Leonard Bernstein's vision of an orchestra that would be a symbol of international co-operation. Three years ago they arrived as a totally unknown quantity, and proceeded to take Derby's Assembly Rooms audience by storm with outstanding performances of Shostakovich and Rachmaninov. If this, their eagerly-awaited return (Assembly Rooms, Derby, UK, 8 March 2007), didn't quite live up to the promise of that earlier occasion, there was still much to enjoy.
Britten's The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra may have been originally conceived as an education project, but the published commentary is a distinct liability. Justus Frantz read it charmingly (turning to face the audience during the 'till ready' bars), but it still sounded stilted and patronising, and it held up the work's overall momentum. A pity, since the Philharmonia of the Nations played with great verve and panache.
Copyright © 15 March 2007
Mike Wheeler, Derby UK