thu 23/01/2020

BBC Symphony Orchestra 80th Birthday Concert, Barbican | reviews, news & interviews

BBC Symphony Orchestra 80th Birthday Concert, Barbican

BBC Symphony Orchestra 80th Birthday Concert, Barbican

Bread-and-butter Stravinsky wins the day in a well-stacked contemporary sandwich

Kari Kriikku as Kaija Saariaho's unicorn, with David Robertson conducting the BBCSOAll images c Chris Christodoulou

Eighty years ago yesterday, the 41-year-old Adrian Boult launched the distinguished history of what was then a 114-strong BBC Symphony Orchestra with Wagner's Flying Dutchman Overture in Portland Place. Three months later ice-and-fire Ernest Ansermet was over to conduct Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring in a programme which included the composer at the piano. Both works were indispensible to last night's celebrations: crispbread and butter wrapped around an equally representative contemporary filling that spread its wow factor relatively thin.

Stravinsky's Rite of Spring is a work the BBCSO could play in its sleep - fortunately not the case in Robertson's incisive, clear and spacious reading

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