Review: Hallé Orchestra ****

It's always a good sign at a concert, when you see members of an orchestra, made redundant by a reduction in the numbers required for an item, creep into the auditorium to listen.

Robin Ticciati had led the Hall in a bubbly performance of Berlioz's overture Beatrice and Benedict; the stage had been cleared of most of the brass and many other instrumentalists for Ravel's piano concerto in G, when a number of them sidled into the stalls to listen to David Kadouch play it, and no doubt left refreshed by his subtle performance of this kaleidoscopic music. Kadouch seemed to watch Ticciati and the orchestra intently, which suited this concerto written with Ravel's usual elegance and wistfulness, rather than as a vehicle for display.

Ticciati then displayed a mature head on his young shoulders as he led the Hall through the agony and the triumph of Brahms's 1st Symphony. It looked so simple as he let the music speak for itself, for instance in the violin solo at the end of the slow movement, beautifully played by the leader, but definitely as a part of the orchestra rather than a mini violin concerto – a sign of a sure and confidently envisioned whole.

Sheffield City Hall

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