It is easy to appreciate the music of Berlioz, Ravel, Stravinsky and English Born composer Thomas Adès when it is the New York Philharmonic performing. Part of their residency series at the Barbican, Friday night was an opportunity to be wowed by some impressive musicianship and a passion for music.
You know you're in for something a little bit different when you notice that after taking your seats you're surrounded by various members of the brass section. This was for Adès piece Polaris which had its European Premiere and was a joint commission with the Barbican and New York Philharmonic. It was an intriguing and hypnotic piece, although depending on your proximity to the off stage brass may have swayed your views on it (as no doubt you would not have heard much else). The above video shot for its premiere in New York gives some context to it
The rest of the programme featured Joyce DiDonato in Berlioz’s song cycle Les nuits d’été which gave a delicate and light touch to the proceedings. The concert concluded Stravinsky’s brassy Symphony in Three Movements and Ravel’s mildly erotic (but definitely evocative) Daphnis and Chloe Suite No 2.
Naturally the audience wasn't going to let things rest there and two encores ensued. A great varied programme and a night to remember.