Saturday, 24 January 2009

HOT: Orchestre des Champs Elysées/Herreweghe, Barbican Hall

I still remember when I first heard Mendelsshon's Hebrides Overture - Grade 11 music class, sticky and sweaty in my uniform, sitting in the hottest classroom in the school and over a tinny sound system. Nevertheless, I recall being overwhelmed by the drama and beauty of the crashing waves and calm seas, and it has become one of my favourite pieces of classical music.

I've never actually heard it played live, so I was very excited to find out that the Orchestre des Champs-Élysées, a specialist Classical and Romantic period orchestra, was going to perform it in my favourite classical music venue, the Barbican. Sitting three rows from the front meant that I was able to see every facial expression and watch the orchestra sway as one with the phrasing of the melodies. It was such a moving and passionate performance, especially the liquid beauty of the clarinet solo, that I can't actually recall much of the program afterwards.

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