TITLE: Orchestra of Opera North, Sunwook Kim (piano)

VENUE: Huddersfield Town HallREVIEW: William Marshall

TWO of the great monuments of 19th century music opened the new Kirklees Concert Season and the substantial Huddersfield Town Hall audience gave ovations to both performances.

The Piano Concerto No 1 in D Minor by Brahms was followed by the Symphonie fantastique of Berlioz.

There are huge contrasts between the compositions, but their very scale and ambition means they are also replete with their own inner contrasts and range of expression.

The Berlioz – as its title suggests – is one of the most extraordinary, not to say bizarre works in the orchestral canon. It has moments of classical poise and restraint, but is also full of spine-chilling strangeness as it charts the emotions and opium-fuelled fantasies of a love-deranged young man.

Frederic Chaslin conducted the Symphonie fantastique without a score which is, or should be, a sign of complete immersion in the music.

This certainly aided him as he gave shape to the difficult third movement, an other-worldly pastorale.

The famous last two movements, March to the Scaffold and Dream of a Witches’ Sabbath, enabled the Orchestra of Opera North to demonstrate its full panache and there should be a special word for the percussion section and some truly terrifying bass drum rolls.

The soloist for the Brahms was the prodigious young Korean pianist Sunwook Kim who executed the longest concerto in the repertoire with complete poise.