THE Town Hall was swathed in nineteenth century romanticism on Saturday night.
If the Huddersfield Phil could not always summon up the extremes of emotion that such repertoire can demand, there were highly creditable accounts of popular works by Mendelssohn, Grieg and Tchaikovsky.
The concert opened with Mendelssohn’s overture The Hebrides. This short composition is almost a soundtrack for early romanticism and perhaps the performance given by the orchestra and conductor Natalia Luis-Bassa was somewhat restrained, almost classical. But initial tentativeness was soon overcome, in time for Grieg’s Piano Concerto.
This was last heard at the Town Hall less than two months ago, at an Orchestra of Opera North concert. But its popularity is perennial and it should be said that Saturday’s young soloist, the former Huddersfield University student Jonathan Fisher, gave a technically assured performance which was almost as persuasive as that of the more experienced and excellent Roland Pontinen, whom we heard in September. Fisher’s crashing cadenzas had all the intensity one could ask for.
The concert concluded with Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No 2. For this there was a full low brass section, which made a powerful contribution, especially in the rousing and very Russian chorale that began the final movement.
From an audience perspective it would seem that Natalia Luis-Bassa has a very clear beat and this is perhaps allied to her evident ability to achieve clarity of detail from the orchestra, including some very neat conclusions to passages and movements.