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First Night Gala Concert, Royal Festival Hall

The much anticipated re-opening of the Royal Festival Hall was officially upon us. There was neither pomp nor circumstance: even the Duke of Kent was
happy to be amongst the audience rather than in the ceremonial box.
The opening work by Julian Anderson was a lovely collage of choral and orchestral textures - both expansive and intimate. The Byzantium section was marvellous - just hearing a wash of organic and energetic sound. Jurowski conducted the work with much confidence. This was followed by Firebird which really showed off the hall's new found dynamism.
The rest of the programmes was somewhat eclectic including the last movement of Beethoven 9th Symphony (The reviewer from New York Times obviously did not realise there was a cast change - Philip Langridge and Brindley Sherratt were replaced by Simon O'Neill and Neal Davies). Marin Alsop brought the evening to a stylish and climatic end with Bolero.


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