RNCM-Paris Conservatoire Symphony Orchestra
RNCM Concert Hall, 1 March 2018
In this, the opening concert of Paris-Manchester 1918, the German conductor Markus Stenz conducted an orchestra of students from the RNCM and the Paris Conservatoire.
On a chilly Manchester evening, the first day of Spring no less, that saw the Beast from the East make merry dalliance with Storm Emma, it was the ‘Valkyries’ section of Richard Wagner’s The Ring, in an orchestral arrangement (a deft abridgement) by the Dutchman Henk de Vlieger, that provided the most apposite soundtrack. The heavens were in uproar, inside and outside of the concert hall.
Before that, mind, we had Claude Debussy’s L’après-midi d’un faune, a work full of fabulist, haunting melody, and Edward Elgar’s magnificent Enigma Variations. The whole concert could be characterised as a high-class selection box of great European music, and it was ably brought to life by these young, greatly talented musicians – and they were not only from Europe. Both the RNCM and the Paris Conservatoire are world-class institutions and they attract students from around the globe. It was wonderful to behold.
There are several Paris-Manchester 1918 concerts in Paris over the coming days, while the next Manchester concerts are In Flanders and Friendship in Wartime. As well as the music, there is a virtual exhibition, currently live, called Paris-Manchester 1918: Conservatoires in time of war. It is full of fascinating and evocative artifacts and you can view it here.
A full programme of Paris-Manchester 1918 events can be found here.