Revisión de Manchester Collective / Mahan Esfahani - debut de High Energy Proms

In a normal year, la Manchester Collective would probably have found themselves making their Proms debut in one of the late-night slots, donde los programas más extravagantes suelen estar escondidos. But here they were the main event at the Royal Albert Hall, a tremendous achievement for a group only founded five years ago.

Perhaps it was because of the high-profile slot that the programme seemed to try awfully hard to have as wide an appeal as possible. Manic, propulsive energy was the shared characteristic of too much of the music, from the Harpsichord Concerto by Henryk Górecki with which the concert began, to the vapid piece by Wojciech Kilar, Orawa, which was added as an encore.

Mahan Esfahani was the extrovert soloist in the Górecki, and he returned later to play the Jazz Harpsichord Concerto by Joseph Horovitz, with a bass and a drum kit joining him in an unlikely jazz trio. His playing was as punchy and brilliant as ever, but that virtuosity seemed rather squandered on such undeniably slick but trivial music.

Dobrinka Tabakova’s Suite in Old Style, The Court Jester Amareu, designed as a homage to Rameau but more often sounding like an unlikely hybrid between Bartók’s Romanian Folk Dances and Peter Warlock’s Capriol Suite, had no more substance either, apart from providing a great showcase for the outstanding solo playing of the collective’s violist, Ruth Gibson.

The programme, aunque, was certainly diverse. Julius Eastman’s The Holy Presence of Joan d’Arc, composed for 10 cellos but played here in a version for string orchestra, added hardcore 1980s minimalism to the mix, mientras Edmund Finnis’s The Centre Is Everywhere offered something entirely different – delicate, microtonal string writing woven into drifting clouds of sound, that provided real musical subtlety in an evening otherwise desperately short of it.

All this season’s Proms están disponibles en BBC Sounds hasta 11 octubre.

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