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Composer: Berkeley, Michael (b. 1948)

Fact file
Year of birth1948
NationalityUnited Kingdom
Period20th century
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Prom 16: a powerful Berkeley première

Jac van Steen © Chris Christodoulou
A superb performance from Chloë Hanslip in the world premiere of Berkeley's Violin Concerto, with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales under Jac van Steen polished but lacking bite in Dukas and Prokofiev.
***11
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Woodwind with your lunch

Patrick John Jones © Cathy Pyle
A new commision for the woodwind soloists of the Britten Sinfonia was the inspiration behind this beguiling lunchtime affair, consisting entirely of music for woodwind quintet spanning nearly 100 years.
****1
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Joyful Company of Singers at Presteigne Festival

Joyful Company of Singers © Ben Ealovega
Peter Broadbent and the Joyful Company of Singers return to the Presteigne festival for an enterprising programme of unfamiliar 20th-century choral repertoire.
***11
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Prom 65: "A riot of orchestral colour?"

David Goode  ©  BBC / Malcolm Crowthers

A "riot of orchestral colour" was promised, but little of it was allowed to flourish.

Elgar's Cockaigne Overture, written during the winter of 1900-01, is a portrait of a busy London, conjuring the hustle and bustle of everyday, metropolitan life. The orchestration, as is typical of Elgar, is often very detailed, the principal threads of the texture being added to momentarily here and there, as a flute highlights this and a tuba underscores that. Jac van Steen, the principal guest conductor of the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, exerted tight control over the score, but often at the expense of integration. As a result, the sound was unequal rather than homogeneous, which was further upset by moments of poor orchestral balance, the brass at times overwhelming their colleagues. Yet this was spirited playing that did much to realise the charm of Elgar's score.

***11
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