It is a wonderful thing to watch a conductor at work before their orchestra.
Lost – and, perhaps, found – in music. Hovering at some point between guiding the players along their given route and basking in the divine effect of their combined labour.
Such was plain from a lowly side seat at the Guild Hall for Sunday’s visit of the Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra; lowly but blessed with a fine view of conductor Andrew Manze, pictured.
Animated and impassioned first note to last, Manze led the orchestra through a rich programme comprising Schubert, Schumann, two Purcell pieces – deftly edited and orchestrated by Britten and the conductor – and Mozart.
Schubert’s Symphony No. 3 provided a cheerful curtain raiser, the final movement in particular an urgent whirling highlight of the afternoon
Schumann’s Piano Concerto brought multi-award winning Dutch pianist Ronald Brautigam to the stage.
The aforementioned chair afforded a similarly intimate view of this imposing musician; a broad bear of a man whose tousled shock of white hair framed an extraordinarily expressive countenance.
Every emotion engendered by this famous romantic piece raced across those features, and each was communicated whole to a rapt audience.
The Purcell pieces – a stately funeral march and the slow building baroque Chacony for strings – were a signal change of mood, yet paved the way for a euphoric climax in the shape of Mozart’s Symphony No. 40.
This ‘appeal to eternity’ was served well by both Manze and his players, and the final heartfelt ovation was due reward.
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