Renee Fleming – a name that immediately caught my attention on the programme, leading to the concert being shortlisted immediately. And what a treat it was!Sakari Oramo was heading up the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra and the evening start with the UK premiere of Andrea Tarrodi’s Liguria. Very much a piece that draws you in from the first bar. One of the nice things of listening to contemporary, unknown pieces is the surprise factor of not knowing what to expect. Intended as a sort of walking tour through villages of ‘Cinque Terre’ it paints a very intriguing picture describing everything from Waves to Stars –  beautiful and melodic and very immersive. It definitely is a piece you want to listen to again transporting you to your imagination enveloping you in a warm cloak of music.

The second piece of the evening was Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1915. Having bought Renee Fleming’s CD Distant Light shortly after it’s release in January 2017 this piece was not new to me but still very intriguing. I am usually to lazy to read any of the notes on the CD so programme notes at concerts are always handy. Meant to be depicting the “home” feeling of Americans in the frame of small villages and towns. Needless to say that Renee Fleming was giving it the soul needed for this beautifully lyrical piece. Some more contemporary pieces can be a little challenging for the ear but this one is so melodic and the more you listen to it, the more you can enjoy it.

After the interval Renee was back with Strauss’ Transformation Scene from Daphne. Probably unjust I am not too keen on music composed by any composer with the name Strauss. Whilst I can very much appreciate the beauty of the piece it is not necessarily something I would also warm to. Whilst I have seen Der Rosenkavalier I couldn’t quite fully immerse myself into this short excerpt from Daphne. Of course, it was stunningly sung and played but it is tricky for me to get into the dramatic mindset that normally goes with any opera without having the necessary context.

Closing the programme was Nielsen’s Symphony No 2. Skandi orchestra and Skandi conductor – a match made in heaven! Nielsen’s symphonies are my go to for track for long haul flights and I quite literally know them inside out!One of the reasons I like Sakari Oramo as a conductor is that he really gets the lyrical side out of orchestras like no other. Especially in this particular symphony he manages to take you right to the brink of despair and then back to incredible heights! There is a reason the symphony is named ‘The Four Temperaments’. There were no doubt more than 4 temperaments on that stage that night! Nielsen’s music just has an incredible depth to it that is best brought out through fellow Nordic musicians. The sentiment and lyricism really shone through – a night where you left the hall with a little spring as the symphony ends on a comparatively light note – considering all the emotions one had to go through to arrive at the end!

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