Royal Albert Hall, LondonBeethoven’s Ninth came full of youthful energy, with a fine new companion piece… and freePerforming Beethoven’s Ninth has become an annual Proms tradition, but this year’s outing was special, commemorating the bicentenary of the organisation which commissioned it, the Royal Philharmonic Society. Performed by the National Youth Orchestra, the concert was also free, in homage to the RPS’s long history of aiming to make “music for all”.To be sure, this was no precision-engineered interpretation, but Vasily Petrenko seemed more concerned to maximise Beethoven’s grand gestures and draw on the vast reserves of energy that comes from cramming 160 superb young players on to the stage, and an even greater number of singers from the National Youth Choirs of Great Britain (and Ireland) on to the galleried seats above. The soloists, ranked behind the orchestra, were excellent, with Jennifer Johnston and Ailish Tynan in fine voice, and Gerald Finley and Toby Spence both clear and light-toned but still able to penetrate. There were moments when Petrenko’s pace felt uncomfortably fast, but the rapturous beauties of the slow third movement emerged well, as did the unruly atmosphere of the finale. Choir and orchestra also shone in Vaughan Williams’s stirring …read more

Via: The Guardian | Books