Tom Coult’s new Composer in Association position with the BBC Philharmonic commits him to three substantial works over the following three years, the primary of which, Pleasure Garden, acquired its premiere right here.
The violin concerto, a co-commission from the orchestra and Salford University, and written to have a good time the current opening of the RHS Garden Bridgewater in Salford, invitations listeners to discover the connection between nature and music, and debate the way forward for our inexperienced areas. Coult defined in short programme notes that he had steered away from any try to “tell a story”, although the 4 sources that impressed every respective motion are entertaining tales in their very own proper, starting from 14th-century organetto participant Francesco Landini performing to a bunch of more and more unruly birds, to the time Salford’s Worsley New Hall tried to dye the orange, ore-stained Bridgewater canal blue to mark the go to of Queen Victoria.
The logic of Coult’s musical concepts alone wasn’t at all times sufficient to give the piece apparent route, significantly by means of the primary motion the place inexperienced shoots of life from the violin have been pruned vociferously by vertical stabs of orchestral sound. Much of the remaining three actions featured slower-moving textures, methodically crafted but bewitchingly authentic. Coult’s writing is strongest when elaborately unravelling a sound’s constituent components. The music has a Takemitsu-like high quality in that regard, to which Coult provides his personal mischievous touches. Violinist Daniel Pioro was an assured soloist, switching with ease between an embedded near-tutti position, and his place because the orchestra’s sparring accomplice.
Swiss-Australian conductor Elena Schwarz, in her debut with the orchestra, made her approach fastidiously by means of Kurt Weill’s not often carried out second symphony. The piece sees Weill in transition, shifting away from orchestral music and in direction of the stage, and the Philharmonic’s soloists added simply sufficient of the jazzy swagger that may come to outline his later work.
Schwarz’s fleet-footed presence on the rostrum was higher suited to the evocative strains of Ravel’s ballet Mother Goose, which introduced some attractive taking part in from the Philharmonic – particular point out for harpist Clifford Lantaff, equal to the numerous calls for set by Ravel and Coult. You’d be arduous pressed to discover a extra beautiful finish to a programme than the conclusion of Ravel’s rating, the place Sleeping Beauty is awoken by her Prince Charming.