|Date and venue||Title|
Royal Albert Hall
|Prom 65: "A riot of orchestral colour?"|
|A "riot of orchestral colour" was promised, but little of it was allowed to flourish.
Elgar's Cockaigne Overture, written during the winter of 1900-01, is a portrait of a busy London, conjuring the hustle and bustle of everyday, metropolitan life. The orchestration, as is typical of Elgar, is often very detailed, the principal threads of the texture being added to momentarily here and there, as a flute highlights this and a tuba underscores that. Jac van Steen, the principal guest conductor of the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, exerted tight control over the score, but often at the expense of integration. As a result, the sound was unequal rather than homogeneous, which was further upset by moments of poor orchestral balance, the brass at times overwhelming their colleagues. Yet this was spirited playing that did much to realise the charm of Elgar's score.
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