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Tremendous Conviction

Mahler's Symphony No 2 in Derby Cathedral,
reviewed by MIKE WHEELER


One of the highlights of Derby's home-grown 2002 Festival was a performance of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony by Derby Concert Orchestra and Derby Bach Choir. This time they were back together for Mahler's Symphony no 2 (Derby Cathedral, Derby, UK, 28 March 2009).

Conductor Jonathan Trout successfully steered the orchestra through the many different facets of the big opening movement, with a command of the intimate moments as well as the grand rhetoric. This was followed by a rather earthier than usual second movement, and a scherzo that perhaps missed a little of the sardonic humour. While the epic last movement may not quite have cohered into an organic whole, the successive episodes had plenty of conviction with the big march episode given tremendous energy, Derby Bach Choir singing their hearts out in the choral sections. Soloists Lucy Jack and Carolina Krogius were an eloquent duo in the finale, though Krogius' account of 'Urlicht' needed perhaps just a touch more warmth.

It was a shame that the geography of the building meant a not entirely satisfactory placing of the off-stage band, which ideally needed more distance, and of the choir which, conversely, needed to be nearer but which had to be accommodated right down at the east end. In the circumstances the spine-tingling hush of their first entry was not really achievable. But co-ordination between the different groups was astonishingly exact.

There were moments of untidy ensemble and inexact balance, but they were overshadowed by the tremendous conviction and commitment of all concerned.

Copyright © 3 April 2009 Mike Wheeler,
Derby UK


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