Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Cambridge Corn Exchange, Saturday, June 17

CAMBRIDGE NEWS

The final concert in Cambridge Live’s 2016-17 Classical Concert Series on Saturday night at Cambridge Corn Exchange was not only a fitting climax to a wonderful run of performances since the series started last October, but also a brilliant celebration of youthful talent.

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Walton's First Symphony still blazes at the RFH

BACHTRACK  ★★★★

Elgar’s Froissart Overture was his first score for orchestra, named after Froissart’s chronicles of the middle ages and headed by a line from Keats: “When chivalry lifted up her lance on high”. The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra strings launched into its opening with fire and precision, and the faster sections could not have been more chivalric if Tadaaki Otaka had conducted in full armour waving Excalibur.

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Royal Philharmonic Orchestra/Tadaaki Otaka – Elgar’s Froissart & Walton 1 – John Lill plays Tchaikovsky

CLASSICAL SOURCE

Otaka’s grasp of Elgar is total – which is saying something, for those who remember his fine accounts of the A-flat Symphony in particular – and his direction of Froissart (not one of Elgar’s flawless masterpieces) so captured the essence of this work that its qualities were clearly and cleverly brought out. Indeed, this was a performance of no little stature in which architecture and atmosphere were perfectly equated.

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Full-on romantics: Tasmin Little lyrical in Tchaikovsky with Christoph König and RPO

BACHTRACK ★★★

One of the dilemmas for a conductor is when to perform popular pieces. This is not really a problem if you are already in the Premier League of conductors – people will always come to see you. However, if you are not yet a household name, you need to pick your moments.

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