Concerto for Orchestra [BBC commission: world premiere]
Songs from Des Knaben Wunderhorn (Rheinlegendchen; Das irdische Leben; Wo die schönen Trompeten blasen; Des Antonius von Padua Fischpredigt; Lob des hohen Verstandes)
Symphony No.6 in D minor, Op.104
Randi Stene (mezzo-soprano)
BBC Symphony Orchestra
Reviewed by: Timothy Ball
Reviewed: 30 September, 2003
Venue: Barbican Hall, London
This opening concert of the BBCSO’s 2003/04 season found the orchestra in excellent form. Unanimous in attack and responsive to interpretative demands, the playing was a source of constant delight, and compelled admiration.
The programme started with an ultimately riveting account of Sibelius’s final major work, which, at the outset did not bode especially well, since the opening paragraphs seemed rather perfunctory in character. However, the whole structure was built with unerring power and a relentless force that made for shattering impact. Along the way, details of scoring were illumined, with the bass clarinet and double bassoon – instruments rarely called upon by Sibelius – making their contributions effectively.