Nottingham Philharmonic: Review



Albert Hall -Peter Palmer 

The Nottingham Philharmonic have long been an orchestra to be reckoned with, but on Saturday there were signs that American guest conductor Kenneth Woods could give a new dimension to their playing. 

Technically, there is little the NPO are incapable of. One need only mention the tricky accompaniments to the Scherzo of Prokofiev’s Second Piano Concerto, or the concerted acceleration to conclude the first movement of Sibelius’s Fifth Symphony. 

Kenneth Woods briefly talked us through the symphony, explaining how it both resembled and differed from Beethoven. He conducted sometimes with a longish stick, sometimes simply using his hands. His combination of vital detail with the broad view was impressive. Sibelius’s masterpiece got a worthy performance.  

Finlandia, the evening’s opener, was judiciously paced too, in a manner that brought out the music’s nobility. More domestic in nature was an endearing arrangement of Wedding Day at Troldhaugen, from Grieg’s Lyric Pieces. 

Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 2 is nothing if not dramatic. Prokofiev dedicated it to the memory of a student friend whose suicidal pistol shot is suggested towards the close. Young Australian soloist Daniel de Borah was as persuasive in the first movement’s long monologue as in the finale’s swings between explosive and elegiac.    

A concert to stir and delight.   

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About the author

American conductor, composer and cellist Kenneth Woods is Principal Conductor of the English Symphony Orchestra, Artistic Director of the Colorado MahlerFest and cellist of the string trio Ensemble Epomeo. He records for the Avie, Somm, Nimbus, Signum, MSR and Toccata labels.

Learn about Kenneth at

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3 comments on “Nottingham Philharmonic: Review”

  1. Pingback: Kenneth Woods- a view from the podium » Return to KCYO….

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