Friday, September 18, 2015

LSO and Elim Chan at the Barbican

To an excellent concert on Weds at the Barbican with the LSO and some Chinese musicians, in the presence of Vice-Premier Liu Yandon.

When Elim Chan the young conductor walked on and shook hands with the LSO Leader Roman Simovic who seemed about 2 feet taller than her you began to wonder how she would fare, but she was amazing! They began with an excellent rendition of the Elgar Overture: Cockaigne done with vim and real musicality. It was clear why she was the winner of the Donatella Flick Conducting Competition and it was a great treat. That piece is not easy to play to make it really interesting.

The Yellow River Piano Concerto followed (soloist Haochen Zhang, who I heard at the Proms last year) which was played very well but sounded very much like a piece composed by a collective during the Cultural Revolution, which it was. There was then an excerpt from The Red Lantern done by rising stars from Beijing and a piece for Jinghu with orchestra and some other traditional Chinese instruments, played by Shouping Yan and a female colleague (uncredited) in unison.

Then Britten's Four Sea Interludes from Peter Grimes - again a masterly display of musicianship from Elim Chan and the LSO. These are much deeper pieces than Cockaigne and were beautifully articulated. After tumultuous applause and 3 curtain calls she came back to the podium and with her bare hands conducted a wonderful Nimrod from Enigma Variations which could not have been played or conducted better! Stunned silence and then rapt applause.  The final encore which I didn't know was more of a crowd pleaser, and had the audience clapping along at one point.

Elim Chan is clearly a considerable talent, with a great feeling for English music. Maybe she should do the Last Night of the Proms?


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