East meets West in show aimed for Expo; CLASSICAL Liverpool Wondrous Place/ Philharmonic Hall.
HOWwould you programme a concert aimed at showcasing Liverpool's musical talents to the world? Which bands would you include and, more difficult, which would you leave out? It's an impossible task in a city like this one to encompass the depth and breath of its performers in a single evening's entertainment, but the Phil had a brave stab at it on Saturday night in a concert that will be repeated on "Liverpool Day" at the World Expo in Shanghai.
The result was a cornucopia of sounds and styles, with the RLPO as the glue binding them together in some sort of coherent whole.
In between orchestral versions of Beatles hits, Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker and Britten's The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra, were performances by The Scaffold, the Pagoda Chinese Youth Orchestra, Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark and 6ix Toys.
Just like Liverpool, it was idiosyncratic and slightly bonkers but there was plenty of serious talent behind the fun.
The opener, a Fab Four medley, sprang into life with dramatic pink Vegas-style lighting. A rhythmic She Loves You moved seamlessly into Yesterday, the melody moving melancholically between oboe and flute.
Then an emotive Eleanor Rigby passed the baton to a jolly Yellow Submarine, with naval-sounding brass, finally finishing on Hey Jude.
It was a dramatic and full-bodied perfor mance but had the feel of The Beatles played on the Love Boat, with chief conductor Vasily Petrenko grooving along at the helm.
The Pagoda Orchestra was splendid, with an upbeat blend of traditional Chinese and Western tunes. The members, some so young they needed a box under their feet to reach the floor, by far out-played their age.
Two traditional Chinese pieces, arranged by Wirral-based Ian Stephens, finished their stint - this time a collaboration with the RLPO. And it was really something to see two conductors working at the same time - Petrenko and Pagoda's director Kui Hsiung Li in a baton-charged duet.
The Chinese-theme continued with Stephens' contemporary piece Oxbow, written for Capital of Culture year, and expanded for full orchestra, dai-hui and guzheng.
Electronic band OMDreprised the orchestrated versions of some of their hits that went down so well at last year's premiere in the same venue. The symphony orchestra brought out incredible depth in songs that originally existed only in a pared down for mat; Andy Mc-Clusky dancing like the zany uncle at a wedding disco.
The new generate of acts was represented by Liverpool group 6ix Toys, who performed at this year's Glastonbury Festival, with the live premiere of No Drama, the funky Liverpool Expo Anthem.
It was a concert that brilliantly showcased the RLPO's diversity as well as the orchestra's unstuffy attitude to adventure.
Perhaps, then, it was no coincidence that the only element of the concert that did not seem to fit into the programme neatly was the one that did not involve the Phil at all.
Even technical problems and a haphazard start to The Scaffold's rendition of Lily the Pink, Liverpool Lou and Thank U Very Much, did not put off the locals, but you've got to wonder what an international audience, unversed in their joyful silliness, will make of it.