The OAE concert with Simon Rattle last Tuesday was, for me, the highlight of the orchestra’s concerts in 2008. Following on from their performance of Schumann’s Das Paradies und die Peri last December, the orchestra has gone on to explore the symphonies of the composer.
As a music student we are often told that these symphonies, are clumsy, problematic and badly orchestrated. However, Rattle and the orchestra made these symphonies make perfect sense. The performances of the first and third symphonies were the most poetic I have ever heard in a concert hall. There was some very unique phrasing from the strings, which, though it may not have been entirely “authentic”, really made the music seem personal. The first symphony was full of exciting energy from the very beginning and was brought to a thrilling close, at no point did this seem too heavy and awkward. The third, the most famous in the cycle was full of contrasting characters and colours, and the sombre fourth movement was very chilling, and played with great poise and control from the orchestra.
I look forward to the orchestra’s next project with Simon Rattle!
Chris Rawley, OAE Student Representative