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A BBC NOW assortment of errant nymphs in Cardiff – Seen and Heard Worldwide

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United KingdomUnited Kingdom Debussy, Mason, Franck: Noémi Györi (flute), BBC Nationwide Refrain and Orchestra of Wales / Gergely Madaras (conductor). Hoddinott Corridor, Millennium Centre, Cardiff, 21.6.2024. (PCG)

Noémi Györi

DebussyPrélude à l’apres-midi d’une faune; Nocturnes
Christian MasonThaleia (UK premiere)
FranckPsyche, Half Three

The BBC NOW marketed its outing a fortnight in the past because the ‘season closing live performance’, so this late addition to the calendar got here as considerably of a shock, but it surely was a most welcome programme. It revolved across the summer time theme of classical Greek mythology, and the misdeeds of nymphs particularly.

We started with the reticent and beguiling tones of Matthew Featherstone’s mellifluous flute as he launched Debussy’s Prélude à l’apres-midi d’une faune. This was a efficiency of pure enchantment, through which the orchestra below the cautious steerage of Gergely Madaras put not a foot unsuitable. He even completely contrived the difficult matter of the stability of the vintage cymbals within the closing bars: there’s a hazard that they both dominate the proceedings or vanish into sheer inaudibility. The inner balances between plaintive woodwinds and melting strings was sheer bliss.

Madaras took the same clear-eyed view of Debussy’s Nocturnes. The opening Nuages have been contemplative however not motionless; and the splodging string pizzicato in Fêtes struck off neatly towards the properly distanced muted trumPets within the center part. Within the concluding Sirènes, a return to the theme of Greek mythology, the large-scale refrain of ladies’s voices demonstrated conclusively their superiority over chamber forces. We have been handled to the fragile heat of the quiet singing, and the superlative stability with the orchestra within the extra tempestuous passages as the ocean surges towards the rocks. The ending, with the refrain quietly buzzing, had a tangibility of sound that for a smaller variety of voices could be tough to match.

After the interval, we heard the primary UK efficiency of Thaleia by English composer Christian Mason. This can be a considerably odd work. The composer’s programme be aware presents it as a parallel to Debussy’s Prélude by way of orchestration. In reality, aside from the references to Greek mythology, the similarities have been removed from instantly obvious. The concerto – the composer describes the work so – has three actions. They’re all usually at a average tempo with occasional bursts of pace and virtuosity for the soloist Noémi Györi however share a lot the identical ritualistic environment.

Within the opening Lament the solo, on piccolo, discovered herself in comPetitors with three orchestral flautists who performed practically constantly. She solely actually lower free when she rose into her higher octaves. The music proceeded with a sequence of sustained chords subjected to rising elaboration and a cadenza. The same sample persevered within the second motion Incantation, interrupted by a extra elaborate accompanied cadenza the place the soloist, now on flute, often flirted with such avant garde methods as overblowing. Within the central part, the cadenza steadily died down into virtually complete silence, solely to renew in a lot the identical method as earlier than. The ultimate motion Songs with out phrases additionally laid extra emphasis on the meditative points of the music than on the sheer degree of show that one may need anticipated of a concerto with the participant alternating between flute and piccolo.

The superbly and elegantly costumed Györi had few moments of repose throughout the entire of some twenty minutes. She was assured and assured, and her tone was superbly poised, by no means tempted to push for a extra bravura sound. The composer was current within the corridor to obtain the appreciative applause of the viewers. Ultimately, although, the music appeared to be over-extended, with inadequate number of atmospheric temper. Maybe it might have been safer to treat it as a three-movement tone-poem fairly than a concerto. The actions received generic titles however a extra detailed programme appeared to underlie the progress of the music.

That was definitely the case with Franck’s large cycle Psyche, with its 5 orchestral sections mixed with choral interjections. We heard right here solely the ultimate part following the deadly assembly between Pysche and Eros, which might be the best-known portion of the rating. Certainly, it was disappointing to be disadvantaged of the primary two ‘elements’ of the entire epic, with the choral passage which ought to interrupt the lovers’ idyll instantly coming into unannounced over bald chords and with out preamble. The huge climaxes of the ultimate orchestral peroration, too, appeared to be considerably overblown once we had had no likelihood to make the acquaintance with the thematic materials in earlier, extra romantically iNFLected guise.

All the identical, alternatives to listen to any a part of this work are uncommon certainly: there are few full recordings round, versus variations of the purely orchestral sections. So, one is grateful to listen to the work given with such enthusiasm and dedication. Oddly, the programme listed the names of the bass part of the BBC Nationwide Refrain of Wales, though Franck’s rating calls just for feminine voices and tenors within the choral sections; presumably they bolstered the decrease tenor elements in divided sections. The programme extra culpably failed to supply both texts or translations. The phrases are usually not nice literature – the English translation within the vocal rating is depressing stuff – however it might have helped to listen to what the singers have been involved about.

The live performance, we have been advised, is to be broadcast on BBC Radio 3 as a part of their new afternoon sequence Classical Dwell. We weren’t suggested of the date of this relay, and maybe particular person objects from the programme will likely be scheduled on completely different days. These curious about trendy developments in woodwind music will need to hear Mason’s work. The Debussy objects will repay the listener who tunes in – both when they’re broadcast or on BBC Sounds for thirty days thereafter.

Paul Corfield Godfrey

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