Last night we went to the Albert Hall, pausing en route for a delightful meal at Hugo's. I have just one criticism - if I order a Real Organic Lemonade I don't really expect to find it including ice-cubes made - presumably - from tap water. Otherwise, really good quality food - I had crayfish and ginger wrapped in smoked salmon served on an enticing bed of diced-tiny beetroot-and-red-pepper and strips of cucumber; followed by halloumi and roasted veg with couscous, perhaps a little overmuch enormous mushrooms; finished with the most scrumilicious Blueberry Creme Brulee. A good 8/10 overall. The house red is very nice. If you want to combine with a trip to the Albert Hall booking is a must.
The music was
Overture - The Hebrides ('Fingal's Cave') (10 mins)
Violin Concerto No.1 in G minor (25 mins)
A Sea Symphony* (65 mins)
Leila Josefowicz (violin)
Janice Watson (soprano)*
Dwayne Croft (baritone)*
Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Choir*
Chester Festival Chorus*
Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
Gerard Schwarz conductor
The piece that lingers in my mind is Fingal's Cave, beautiful music. It was beautifully played but it didn't really fill the Albert Hall.
Next was Bruch's fabulous violin concerto. Again, technically excellent playing of a beautiful piece of music, but not one that moved me to rapture. Leila Josefowicz produced a beautiful sound.
The second half, Vaughan Williams Sea Symphony was merely mediocre. I have a much better performance on CD. It was magnificent to see such a large choir who made such a beautiful sound, the Ladies in particular, especially the sopranos. I found my attention wavering during much of the performance despite my close studying of Whitman's poems. Janice Watson made a very nice sound; Dwayne Croft I can take or leave. An adequate serviceable sound, but, ultimately, generic.
And I suppose 'generic' would sum up the overall performance from the orchestra. 6/10 or 3 stars, possibly, but no more. My summary of the V-W was 'Wagnerian in its ambitions but not in its intensity'. And Jimmy got very hot, wearing good trousers and a long-sleeved shirt, despite me telling him he was overdressed.
Tonight, The Dream of Gerontius with Mr Halle's Band and Choir. The last time I heard them perform this was May 1984. My insightful review at the time: "In places the music was really powerful." I am very much looking forward to hearing the much-raved about Alice Coote, whom I have never heard live.