Webmaster: Len Mullenger
Seen and Heard Concert Review
Carter, Beethoven, R. Strauss & Stravinsky: Emanuel Ax (piano), BBC Symphony Chorus & Orchestra/Jirí Belohlávek, Barbican Hall, 22.10.2005 (CC)
The BBC Symphony Orchestra's chief Conductor Designate led his orchestra-to-be in a concert designed to celebrate 75 years to the day since Adrian Boult conducted the orchestra for the first time. The idea was to reflect the orchestra's contemporary music links as well as the legion of 'top-flight' soloists that have joined the orchestra as guests.
Elliott Carter was the 'modernist'
concerned, his Réflexions of 2003/4 receiving its UK premiere. Billed
as a mere five minutes, it was in actual fact just under
double that (somewhat spookily setting a bit of a trend
as it turned out – the interval was forty minutes as opposed
to twenty). Réflexions was composed for Pierre Boulez' 80th
birthday celebrations and so begins with a roll on a stone
('pierre' in French). I'm not sure I entirely follow the composer's
logic in deriving his generating hexachord from Boulez'
name. B is straightforward enough (B flat), but O=G sharp;
U=C (Ut?); L=A (La?) E=E (obviously)
and Z=D sharp (perhaps less obviously). Musically this was
typical Carter complexity leading to a typically Carter
'so what?' impression, and while it was nice to hear so
much of the contrabass clarinet, this work emerged as somewhat