Review: Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra **

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Leeds Town Hall

The Liverpool Phil do gaudy and sensational well, and deliver the goods for those who like concerts flashy and untroubled by complexity.

Trombone virtuoso-turned-conductor Christian Lindberg is just the man for that job. Sporting a different shining short-sleeved shirt for each half of the concert plus incredibly tight trousers, he gave a jolly account of Nielsen’s Helios Overture with no sense of the continuous arc of sound the composer required. Grieg’s Piano Concerto was overblown, with soloist Alessandro Taverna taking liberties with note lengths. The slow movement was unbelievably slow, and it took an effort of will to maintain interest.

As Sibelius’s Second Symphony bounced along inconsequentially – all brashness and bling – I’m afraid my mind wandered irretrievably, firstly to the genius Paavo Berglund who died recently and who, conducting the Bournemouth Orchestra in the 1970s, expressed the mystery and reined-in power in this symphony.

Then I thought of Leeds native David Blenkinsop who brought him to Bournemouth and later made Australia’s Perth Festival one of the finest anywhere.