The Bells rang to usher us into the hall, the audience sat watching the orchestra make a final amendments to their instruments. The Usher hall provided a wonderful setting for this with great atmosphere, sound and lighting. A nice touch was the Chief executive dedicating the concert to the terrible atrocities that were carried out in Manchester that week. Thomas Sondergard entered the stage and immediately captured the audience with his stage presence. The concert started with gently flowing melodies. Jennifer Johnson joined the stage, holding the audience in her hands with her strong well controlled tone for the Mahler songs.
After the interval the audience were treated to the Beethoven Lenore Overture No3, set in a Spanish Prison at the end of the 18th Century and part of the Opera Fidelio, said to be the manuscript that caused Beethoven “the most sorrow; and for that reason the one, most dear to me”. The Bows of the wood section came to life, frantically building up to the finale which filled the stage with emotion and drama with the orchestra and conductor giving their all.
Jennifer Johnston – Mezzo-SopranoThe grand finale of Sibelius Symphony No 5, saw the wood section show you not only their skills in arco-work, but also in pizzicato. Principle flutist Katherine Bryan stole the show, magically transporting you into another world with her stunning work. The lights of the Usher Hall glistening down on her flute added to the moment. The excellent and captivating work of timpanist Benedikt Kurz is also worth noting, the concentration and skill made for excellent dramatic build to an end that saw the RSNO work to create a finale to remember.
Sibelius was said to have drawn great inspiration from the natural world, you feel this in the music, with what sounds like the build-up of humming bee’s approaching you in areas, you are often transported in your mind to scenes of nature. “Today I saw 16 Swans. One of the greatest experiences! Lord God, what beauty!” The Concert flowed well, completely enthralling from beginning to end, true escapism in the magic of the music.
Reviewer : Dolina Gorman