HUDDERSFIELD Philharmonic Orchestra, Huddersfield Town Hall, Saturday February 9
THE short, but popular, Sabre Dance by Khachaturian opened a theatrical first half as The Huddersfield Philharmonic performed works by composers from the old Soviet bloc.
Initial awkwardness eventually resolved itself under the tight direction of conductor, Natalia Luis-Bassa.
The Philharmonic were then joined by actor Robert Powell (pictured) to give an utterly engaging and absorbing rendition of Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf.
Here was an opportunity for various sections of the orchestra to shine and, without exception, from the jaunty mischievousness of the strings, through portrayals of the characters from the horns and woodwind to the menace of the hunters, they excelled.
For some, particularly the many children in the audience, this was probably the highlight of the evening.
For lovers of more serious music, however, the best was yet to come. Performed almost 100 years to the day since its premiere, Rachmaninov’s Symphony No. 2 in E minor is no light undertaking.
Opening with brooding lower strings suggesting impending conflict; the serenity of the higher strings was soon established to be replaced in the second and third movements with the soaring passion that is the hallmark of Rachmaninov.
Most listeners will judge the performance of this work by the famous Adagio. The Philharmonic was in command throughout. This was most evident in the delicate passages punctuating the rhapsodic climaxes of this third movement.
The Allegro vivace summed up the concert. A triumph. Here is an orchestra which deserves to bear the name of a town so renowned for its musical heritage.
Due to technical difficulties we were unable to publish this review in Monday’s edition.