Besses Triumphal with the RLPO
A resurgent Besses has now played to three delighted and packed houses in one week whilst supporting the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra (‘RLPO’). Earlier this week, the RLPO – just back from another triumphant visit to Bucharest – swept into the Royal Albert Hall with Besses for a sold-out Classic FM concert drenched in razzamatazz, cannons and fireworks. The Royal Albert Hall concert was recorded for broadcast on the radio on Friday 25 September.
Much of the same programme was then performed in two further sell-out concerts at the RLPO’s Philharmonic Hall in Liverpool in a celebratory atmosphere as the orchestra’s opener for this season.
The RLPO party programme included the world premiere of screen composer Nigel Hess’ specially-commissioned Celebration Overture, written for the orchestra’s 175th anniversary this year. Rachmaninov’s Second Piano Concerto was played in gorgeous style by the orchestra, and with a lovely lightness by rising star, 25-year-old, Chinese pianist Ji Liu.
The other guests at the Phil, returning after Tuesday’s performance in London, were Besses o’ th’ Barn Band, whose current musical director is RLPO principal trombone Simon Cowen. They added a splash of red-lapelled colour to the platform, and boosted the concert’s brass complement to something like an ear-busting 34.
This was particularly effective in the closing pairing of the Triumphal March from Aida, and Tchaikovsky’s evergreen crowd-pleaser the 1812 Overture which, with the strings going hell for leather, percussion in full flight and a deafening wall of brass, might just have been heard in Moscow Drive, if not in Moscow itself. Stirring, nay explosive stuff.
Musical director Simon Cowen commented:
“The concerts were huge fun, and absolutely loved by the audiences. For the band, the experience of the last week has created a buzz around the bandroom which will last for quite some time.”