Magazine article Musical Opinion

Celebrating Cities on Latitude 60°N

Magazine article Musical Opinion

Celebrating Cities on Latitude 60°N

Article excerpt

This year's City of London Festival spot- lighted music from the cities on latitude 600N; Kirkwall, Oslo, Stock- holm, Helsinki, Tallinn and St Petersburg, and as Sweden assumed the presidency of the Euro- pean Union on 1 July, the Festival did not miss the opportunity to cele- brate the occasion on that date with its only concert this year in the Great Hall of the Guild- hall. It was held in the presence of the Crown Prince of Sweden, a plethora of ambassadors, clerics, politicians and dignitaries from the Nordic world, with music from Nordic composers played by the Nordic Chamber Orchestra with a Swedish conductor.

The Norwegian contribution to the concert was Grieg's four-movement Holberg Suite, in which some of the tempos were not secured until the second or third bars, but the string sound in that wonderful resonant hall was the most ravishing of the evening, How well it would have sounded with its companion suite Capriolhy Grieg's English counterpart, Peter Warlock, but instead they offered Purcell s Chacony in G minor.

The Swedish contribution was some of the Little Drottningholm Wedding Music by Johan HeI mich Roman, and a Kundraan by Christian Lindberg. Finland was represented by a string arrangement of a piano Impromptu by Sibelius, Denmark by Nielsen's little Suite, and Estonia by Arvo Part's Fratres.

The conductor was the orchestra's resident conductor, the Swedish trombonist, Christian Lindberg, who conducted throughout with as much energy as if he was playing in a rugby match, complete with a change of shirt at halftime. The shirts were far too small for him, suggesting they had been bought for use in his youth, and there was even a change of shirt in the middle of the first half, when the yellow shirt for Roman and Arvo Part was exchanged for red for the Grieg. The second half was conducted in blue.

Each half of the prog- ramme contained a piece for trombone and strings which Mr Lindberg con- ducted from the trom- bone, and this somewhat curbed his exuberance and made his conduct- ing a lot clearer and more comfortable to watch. …

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