Philharmonia Orchestra

MICHAEL DRAKE King's Lynn Corn Exchange (King's Lynn Festival)


King's Lynn Corn Exchange (King's Lynn Festival)

I recall ending last year's final concert review with the request “same again next year please” and on Saturday evening the finale of the King's Lynn Festival provided just that in an unashamedly no-risk, popular programme.

“What's wrong with that?” asked artistic director Ambrose Miller, “it's great music and what people want”. Argument won, as the large orchestra, directed by newly appointed principal resident conductor Joji Hattori, launched their thrilling sound into Rossini's Overture to the Barber of Seville.

The slight figure of the prodigiously talented Min-Jin Kym, soloist in Beethoven's Violin Concerto, brought a subtle touch in the first movement. But she was also ready to use a strong arm when necessary and the end of the Cadenza, with soloist and orchestra picking up the theme again, was a magic moment. Her instrument became an integral part in an emotive Largo, having the capacity to right all the world's ills.

Tchaikovsky's Symphony No 6 with the Pathetique sombre opening (yes, the Philharmonia can do this too) showed the orchestra's melodic heart was on its sleeve and with fluid, energetic conducting - sometimes just a shrug of the shoulders - there was an exciting build-up to the third movement's march with string strength and bright brass inducing premature applause. But this happiness returned to the darker mood as they wrung out the emotion and one could sense them breathing the music's pain.

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“One of the best in my 10 years' involvement.” said Ambrose Miller. Can't argue with that either.

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