BBC Philharmonic/NosedaHats off to Gianandrea Noseda: it is a brave conductor who packs 6,000 people into the Royal Albert Hall and then tries to make them think. Charged with the annual performance of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony - almost as much a tradition as the Last Night, and light years closer to what the Proms is really about - Noseda and his BBC BBC
in full British Broadcasting Corp.
Publicly financed broadcasting system in Britain. A private company at its founding in 1922, it was replaced by a public corporation under royal charter in 1927. Phil preceded it with something to give it context: a first half that mused on death. Starting off cold with the Prelude to Wagner's Parsifal was perhaps a risk too far: this sparing, contemplative music demands an atmosphere of absolute stillness and concentration, and neither audience nor orchestra were absolutely settled. But the next work was unsettling un·set·tle
v. un·set·tled, un·set·tling, un·set·tles
1. To displace from a settled condition; disrupt.
2. To make uneasy; disturb.
v.intr. in itself. Penderecki's Threnody thren·o·dy
n. pl. thren·o·dies
A poem or song of mourning or lamentation.
[Greek thrn for the Victims of Hiroshima is about as uncompromising as string pieces get, and while its episodes of scraping white noise, eerie glissandos and violent thuds continue to sound hostile nearly 50 years after it was written, moments of electrifying e·lec·tri·fy
tr.v. e·lec·tri·fied, e·lec·tri·fy·ing, e·lec·tri·fies
1. To produce electric charge on or in (a conductor).
a. intensity in this performance made it worth the concentration.
Perhaps it is flippant to suggest that following on immediately with Beethoven's Elegischer Gesang avoided a lukewarm audience reception. More pertinently, it gave this slender yet worthwhile piece, conceived for soloists yet sung here by the massed City of Birmingham Symphony Chorus The City of Birmingham Symphony Chorus (CBSC) is a chorus based in Birmingham, England. It is regarded as one of the finest symphony choruses in Europe.
It was founded in 1974 as the CBSO Chorus, but was renamed the CBSC in the 1990s. , a chance to sound properly consolatory.
The real pay-off of this high-mindedness came with the Symphony, which more than usually seemed a journey from darkness to light. A few ropey rop·y also rop·ey
adj. rop·i·er, rop·i·est
1. Resembling a rope or ropes.
2. Forming sticky glutinous strings or threads, as some liquids. brass moments and some scrappy ensemble meant it was impossible to pretend the BBC Phil were on best form, but there were inspired moments of string playing to colour a driven, forceful reading from Noseda.