The Bridgewater Hall, 11 July 2019
An event of two halves.
In the first half, we had a sometimes lively discussion about a work-in-progress to be premiered at The Factory, MIF’s new venue (The Factory is to be built on the site of the old Granada Studios complex, so Tony Wilson’s old stomping ground). Mark Ball, Creative Director of MIF, took part along with Sir Mark Elder and Johan Simons, with Elizabeth Alker keeping them on quite a loose leash. We learnt that Sir Mark and the Halle would perform Shostakovich’s fourth symphony and that Simons would adapt Grossman’s Life and Fate (and, who knows, perhaps its presequel Stalingrad, only translated into English this year) for this new work. An interesting collaboration.
As for the second half, there Jonathon Heyward conducted the Halle in a blistering performance of Shostakovich’s ‘Leningrad’ Symphony (the composer’s seventh). Heyward’s astute conducting was attuned to the defiant, anxiety-ridden music, so lyrical and explosive, so replete with poetically charged booby traps. Like a trekthrough a treacherous labyrinth. You were uprooted but still standing at the end; and grateful for that.