Review: Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra

The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra performed at the Corn Exchange for King's Lynnn Festival

The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra performed at the Corn Exchange for King's Lynnn Festival 2017. Picture: Matt Crossick/PA Wire - Credit: PA

A rip-roaring end to the 67th King's Lynn Festival with Martin Yates conducting the prestigious Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra in a well-chosen programme starting with Mendelssohn's evergreen Overture - Midsummer Night's Dream.

Mendelssohn began this piece when he was seventeen and finished it sixteen years later. On a wet July night, it was a treat to be transported by this magical music to a balmy forest as the orchestra evoked the sound of fairy feet, the pomposity of the courtiers and the playful sound of Bottom's hee-haws.

This was followed by Dvo?ák's Cello Concerto in B minor, widely regarded as the finest concerto for this instrument, despite the composer's initial doubts.

Internationally renowned cellist Raphael Wallfisch's virtuoso performance beautifully highlighted the yearning romanticism of the second movement. The work is deeply personal and rich in sentiment, partly due to the composer's discovery of his sister-in-law's fatal illness which caused him to rewrite the finale to include a theme in memoriam.

King's Lynn is fortunate in having a concert hall large enough to accommodate a symphony orchestra and with the acoustics to do justice to a work such as Beethoven's magnificent Symphony No. 3 'Eroica', which concluded the evening. This symphony was groundbreaking in its length, twice as long as any that came before it.

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From the first declaratory tones to the thrilling final movement with its moments of both exultation and despair, this was a performance not to be missed.

The symphony was initially dedicated to Napoleon Bonaparte but this was changed when Beethoven realised Bonaparte had betrayed his republican ideals by crowning himself Emperor.

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The orchestra were in fine form as they tackled this muscular and epic composition with skill and panache, bringing it to a rousing finale.

Review by Sue Burge

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