Music: French Impressionists \ Simon Rattle \ Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment \ Sunday 11 June 2012
I didn’t go to the OAE’s Night Shift gig with Sir Simon Rattle last night. I was tired after a weekend celebrating my friend’s 40th in Devon and because of that wanted to be in bed comparatively early.
No matter. I went to the fuller more orthodox concert was programmed earlier in the evening on Sunday 11 June (pictured above) at the Royal Festival Hall. It consisted of Faure’s Pelleas and Melisande, Ravel’s Piano Concerto for the Left Hand in the first half, with Debussy’s Prelude de l’Apres Midi d’un Faune and La Mer in the second half.
A few bulleted observations about that 7pm concert at the Royal Festival Hall.
- It’s so much nicer to be in RFH than the usual QEH. A much nicer vibe.
- Apart from a handful of empty seats, the place was rammed.
- Programming Debussy, Faure and Ravel together brought out more of the similarities in terms of sonority, emotion and orchestration than I had previously appreciated the three composers shared.
- The band’s performance of Debussy’s La Mer went down a treat with members of the audience both in the auditorium and online and this was reflected in some online reaction post-Night Shift concert.
- This was the first concert I’d attended since the Stephen Sondheim celebration at the BBC Proms a few years back where there was a real sense of anticipation in the run up to the first note being played. This was a real event and the psychological effect on me leaving the RFH after one concert, keen to hear what the next audience made of the repeat performance at the Night Shift an hour later, increased the sense of excitement.
- The Royal Festival Hall is the most well-connected location in central London for concert going. It’s the quickest to get to and get away from, especially when it’s raining and you’ve only got eight minutes to get your next train home.
- One of the most magical moments was at the opening of the encore Rattle conducted to ‘calm everyone down a bit’ at the end of the concert. There was an undeniable collective sigh of appreciation during the opening bars of Satie’s second Gymnopodie.
An excellent night. Thanks OAE. Now time to catch up on Glynebourne’s Cunning Little Vixen.