Nottingham Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Concert Hall, Nottingham,4****: by William Ruff



Nottingham Philharmonic Orchestra


January 26 2019


Royal Concert Hall, Nottingham




Review: William Ruff



A Family Concert that ticks all the boxes


When I saw some of the children in Saturday’s audience I felt distinctly underdressed.  I could have gone as Spiderman and climbed up the walls of the Royal Concert Hall rather than using the stairs.  Perhaps next time…

The NPO’s Family Concert theme this year was Heroes and Adventures and the idea opened up a treasure trove of good tunes from stage and screen.  Thunderbirds to kick off, followed in fairly quick succession by Star Wars, Mission Impossible, The Great Escape, Robin Hood, Skyfall and Raiders of the Lost Ark.

After we had got our breath back and recharged the Batmobile we were marching with Superman, galloping with the Magnificent Seven and carving our initials on defeated foes as Zorro.  There was slightly more serious stuff as well: two dances from Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin and his 1812 Overture, complete with very loud cannon effects at the end.  And it was good that Malcolm Arnold’s Padstow Lifeboat got an outing too: it’s a very jolly piece celebrating real-life heroism, famously featuring the boat’s off-key claxon.

Conductor Mark Heron ensured that all this was played with the NPO’s customary panache and attention to detail as they segued from one piece to another.  And when the mood changed to something more solemn in Elgar’s Nimrod it was clear just how much care had been taken with phrasing and dynamics.

There were two guests on stage.  Kate Taylor sang two James Bond numbers: Skyfall and Goldfinger.  She had plenty of power and tingle-factor in her voice – and clearly thrilled the audience.  The BBC’s Dominic Heale was the presenter: informative, friendly and good with children, at least judging from his way with the two young conducting-competiton winners.  To sum up: many of the usual ingredients – but mixed to perfection this year.


Nottingham Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Mark Heron, with singer Kate Taylor and presenter Dominic Heale

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