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Tom Randle - Celebrating English Song

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									               Tom Randle



highest registers with                                                        acoustic this approach       and percussion remain as ordered.
Franckian richness of                                                         came across with eng-            This sense of discomfort also spread to the
tone. The duo conveyed                                                        aging presence, as did       musical direction at Adrian Boult Hall, Birm-
Bloch’s turbulent and                                                        Randle’s charming, sincere    ingham on August 8th. Owain Arwel Hughes
yearning neo Romanticism                                                   conversational manner as        has achieved great things with youth orchestras
with panache, the final tonic                                            he shared thoughts with us.       in the past (his Britten War Requiem with the
major resolution reached like a                                          Nowhere was this more app-        Bedford Youth Orchestra at Symphony Hall
sailor pulling into harbour at the end                           arent than when he introduced the         many years ago lives in the memory), but what
of a stormy and eventful ocean voyage.               premiere of From Dreams and Turning, his own          was he doing here, sanctioning a rendition
    Bloch’s aspiration to universalism did not       setting of five poems by A.E. Housman, comm-          from all eight double-basses of the Frère Jacques
conflict with his self-conscious role as a Jewish    issioned by ‘Celebrating English Song’ with           opening to the slow movement of Mahler’s First
composer, as shown by the popularity of works        support from the Housman Society. This Los            Symphony, when the composer clearly marked
such as the Baal Shem Suite, beautifully played      Angeles-born young man admitted his temerity          it as a solo? And, in the same work, when
by Jack Liebeck, whose Guadagnini took on            in bringing such coals to Housmanland, but he         Mahler crowns its climax by asking the horns to
human vocal qualities to convey the work’s           needn’t have worried. These are passionate,           stand to increase their impact (never mind he
inward poetry. His finely calculated bowing          virile compositions, the vocal line riding over       also asks for them to add to their numbers), it
heightened the impact of each gesture both in        colourful piano tapestries which add extra            seemed perverse to mask that impact by having
the first piece, Vidui, and the oft played Nigun,    elements to the sound-world, before, in four of       them raise their music-stands as well.
supplanting an often aggressive attack with          the songs, ending with a questioning numbness             Movements from Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake
cantorial sweetness in Bloch’s rhapsodic lines;      from voice alone. Great waves of applause greet-      were eloquently delivered (fabulous principal
the final dance-like Simchas Torah radiated          ed the conclusion, and Randle appeared gen-           oboe), and the Prelude for Orchestra by Hughes’
optimism and brightness. As also in their            uinely moved at his music’s reception.                          father, Arwel Hughes, was a skilful
highly-charged Franck Sonata that concluded              A different kind of literature                                    display of that fine conductor’s aural
the concert, Liebeck and Forsberg touched the        informed the rest of the                                                  memory, Sibelius to the fore.
tingle factor here more than once. Their             recital: a potted West Side                                                 Christopher Morley
encore, Joseph Achron’s Hebrew Melody, was           Story, fervently delivered
an eloquent vindication of Bloch’s seemingly         (never mind the odd                                                              8th Bach-Paganini
paradoxical aesthetic and universalist ideal,        mishap), Eden Ahmez’                                                               Violin Festival
Liebeck’s singing tone ringing in the mind’s ear     Nature Boy, and Randy
long after the evening was over.                     Newman’s heartbreak-  
								
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