Our Kevin Stanley reviews the Hallé at the Royal Concert Hall...
Tonight’s guest conductor for the Hallé is the supremely talented Chloé van Soeterstède who made her debut with the orchestra only a few weeks ago. She has been attracting interest from orchestras for her expressive and commanding presence on the podium and has been commended for her attention to detail, energy and enthusiasm. All of these attributes are on show tonight as she leads the Hallé with elegance, poise and dynamism.
The programme begins with French composer Emmanuel Chabrier’s Suite Pastorale. The composer was once described as a ‘a man of exquisite gentleness and sudden exuberance’ and the quiet moments of this piece that swiftly segues into short passages of louder music reflect this and it makes good use of every instrument within the orchestra.
The special guest musician is the wonderful celloist Bruno Philippe, playing Saint-Saëns’ Cello Concerto No. 1. Saint-Saëns was a radical and exceptional talent who wrote this daringly modernist piece of music in 1872. Philippe’s instrument is a beautiful 1760 cello by Gennaro Gagliano kindly loaned to him by the Beare’s International Violin Society. He is at one with the instrument – as well as the music that he clearly feels deep within in his soul. He appears enthralled by the music that he is playing. Upon finishing he is presented with a gift which he magnanimously offers up to the Hallé’s newly appointed lead violinist Roberto Ruisi before warmly embracing van Soeterstède and receiving generous and thoroughly deserved applause.
He is at one with the instrument – as well as the music that he clearly feels deep within in his soul
Symphonic Dances was the final piece of work that Sergei Rachmaninov ever composed in 1940, over 20 years after he left revolutionary Russia in 1917, to relocate to New York. It’s one of the greatest and well-known orchestral showpieces ever written. It’s full of drama and excitement with the saxophone prominent in the mix. Rachmaninov composed the piece with the intent of reflecting his memories and feelings of longing for his homeland.
A delightful evening of music, performed by the Hallé, a tremendous orchestra that never fail to impress. The Hallé is a talented dedicated and passionate group of musicians who give everything to their performances and come highly recommended.
The Hallé performed at the Royal Concert Hall Nottingham on Tuesday 5 December 2023
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