Rarely, rarely comest thou BBC spirit of delight!

While working on tomorrow's post I have been listening to a BBC Radio 3 broadcast from Aberdeen of Donald Runnicles conducting the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra in Elgar's Second Symphony. This deeply impressive performance has reinforced my long held view that the quality of the music making of the BBC orchestras increases in direct relation to their distance from the Radio 3 ratings factory in London, while the full-bodied sound captured in Aberdeen's venerable Music Hall is a salutary reminder of just what an acoustic compromise the home of the world's greatest classical music festival is. Bravo to all concerned with the Aberdeen broadcast and great news that maestro Runnicles, seen above, has extended his BBCSSO contract to 2015. Let's hope that the BBC's choice to replace Jiří Bělohlávek at the London based BBC Symphony Orchestra is equally felicitous. But I am not holding my breath.

* An explanation for non-Elgarians: the score of Elgar's Second Sympony is headed by the opening line of Shelley's Invocation - "Rarely, rarely comest thou spirit of delight!"

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Tam Pollard said…
I too thought they had made that basic error, until I read it a second time in disbelief. They played the first symphony at the top of the programme (recorded some time ago), then the Aberdeen concert which ended with the second. If you read down it does say that, but the way it's laid out it's easily missed.

I agree about the current high calibre of the BBC SSO under Runnicles, but then I would say that! Certainly the repeat of the concert in Edinburgh was very fine.

As far as the BBC SO goes, I'll be curious to hear how Oramo gets on with them at the end of the month. I admire him greatly and notice that his contract with the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra ends at about the same time as Bělohlávek's does.
Pliable said…
Tam, many thanks for pointing out my error which is now corrected.

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