Charivari – An Austrian Journal for orchestra
The Sorcerer’s Apprentice
The Nutcracker – Act II
Kensington Symphony Orchestra
Reviewed by: Colin Anderson
Reviewed: 29 November, 2010
Venue: St John's, Smith Square, London
The first half had included another ‘magical’ piece, Paul Dukas’s The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, which seems to be making a (deserved) comeback to concert-halls; it’s a masterly creation. The KSO and Keable gave an account of atmosphere and incident, graphic and cascading, with a requisite lolloping bassoon. Johann Strauss and HK Gruber came ‘as one’, the former’s capricious polka (here nicely pointed, instrumental solos relished) leading (following a fade and a fermata) into Gruber’s Charivari (1981, revised 1999). It packs a punch, unleashing a maelstrom of twentieth-century angst, not without irony though (and with some likeness to Malcolm Arnold’s music). Ives literally marches in, there’s the impending danger of Ravel’s La valse, the upheaval of Mahler 6, and the catastrophe of the ‘March’ from Berg’s Opus 6. A lot happens in eleven minutes and this performance – typical of the KSO’s enterprise – engaged throughout.