RBC Rite of Spring

RITE OF SPRING
Royal Birmingham Conservatoire Symphony Orchestra at Symphony Hall *****

CHRISTOPHER MORLEY IS FULL OF ADMIRATION AT RBC STUDENTS' EXPERTISE

In recent years students from the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire have occasionally provided early-evening curtain-raisers to the subsequent CBSO concert.
But they were never meant to steal the thunder from the big boys, as this amazing account of Stravinsky's Rite of Spring from the RBC Symphony Orchestra under Michael Seal certainly did.
Seal, Conservatoire alumnus, former sub-principal second violin with the CBSO and now its associate conductor, brought a clear, unflappable beat to negotiate the youngsters through this notoriously difficult score, and during rehearsals had obviously coached them to listen to each other -- and didn't that pay dividends in the tendril-awakening opening, launched by a bassoon who made that solo's demands seem easy.
This was an account of awesome expertise. detail which hard-boiled pro orchestras sometimes gloss over coming up shiny and new here, and given with a wonderful blend of timbres in Seal's well-judged balancings. And the acoustic chamber doors, virtually closed, focussed all attention on the clarity of the sound, now brutal (percussion at full pelt), now mysterious (solo string textures), and always latent with energy.
And the packed stalls responded with justifiable enthusiasm, as did I.
Christopher Morley

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