The first night of a tripartite festival celebrating the great British composer kicked off with an unconventional performance of Elgar’s First Symphony.
The piece itself is roughly 45 minutes long, and with its many twists and turns, it is rather a daunting listen for most people but the orchestra played beautifully, as you would expect the Hallé to do.
One couldn’t help but wonder whether the audience deserved a little more warming up before the main event, but conductor Sir Mark Elder’s explanation was that when the Hallé premiered this piece nearly 100 years ago, they would have done it the very same way.
The overture to Froissart was thoroughly enjoyable, for the much needed sense of lightness it brought back into the Bridgwater Hall.
Mezzo soprano, Madeleine Shaw, joined the stage during Grania and Diarmid to give a strong performance. Shaw’s brief performance was delicate, dreamlike and at times ethereal, the Hallé masterfully created atmosphere and scene, holding the entire audience spellbound.
The evening ended with the third in Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance series; not the most popular but certainly a refreshing choice from Elder. The orchestra gave a wonderfully exciting, energetic and rousing performance that brought a very unusual concert to a dramatic finish.
Edited By Holly Aindow