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Phil rewarded for show of ambition.

ONE of the most massive monuments in the symphonic canon filled the second half of this concert, and the Huddersfield Phil displayed commendable ambition and accomplishment with its performance of Mahler's Symphony No 7. The double woodwind section, the extra brass, the exotic percussion, the twin harps, a guitar and mandolin they were all present and correct, and we duly heard and enjoyed all of the thrilling or unusual sonorities that this utterly eclectic symphony has to offer.

We could probably have done with a few more violins, however.

That is not usually a comment one feels one has to make in an orchestral review, but I don't think that the 16 on stage (somewhat fewer than billed in the programme) were enough to produce a body of Artist: Huddersfield Philharmonic Orchestra Venue: Huddersfield Town Hall Review: By William Marshall Rating: ??? out of five string sound that could counterpoise all that brass and woodwind.

There were some good string sonorities during the gentler passages in the Nachtmusik movement in particular, and it's not all about numbers, but I feel that if big, late romantic orchestral pieces are to be attempted, there needs to be bigger string sound, in reserve at least.

Still, conductor Robert Guy and the orchestra pulled off a good, cogent performance and there were numerous stand-out contributions, all the way up from bass trombone to piccolo and e-flat clarinet, not to mention the cowbells that seem to have a particular significance in this extraordinary composition.

In the first half, we had some dazzling pianism from the Ukrainian-born Slava Sidorenko, who was the soloist in the Piano Concerto No 1 by Tchaikovsky.

The big, bombastic chords that open the piece are not, thankfully, a true guide to what is to come, because the concerto is full of melodic interest and, of course, has its reflective moments.

Fully immersed in the concerto and equal to its technical challenges, Sidorenko displayed a rippling virtuosity that was quite delightful.

He earned cheers from the audience and was himself generous in his appreciation of the contribution made by the orchestra and its conductor.

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Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Date:Nov 13, 2017
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