As you go through the doors to the Royal Albert hall, the first word that goes into your head is “wow”. The Royal Albert hall is the biggest building/concert hall that you can imagine. As you sit down, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra walk in one by one and start to tune their instruments. The lights dimmed and the leader of the orchestra violinist Duncan Riddell walked in. Shortly behind him came the conductor, American Andrew Litton. He climbed up on the podium and tapped his baton.

The first piece was the Cockaigne overture (meaning in London town) written by Edward Elgar in C major. It was amazing. It was like the brass were speaking in a song and the strings were answering. It was faster than I thought it would be but it sounded great. It builds up speed like a car driving through London and it slows down and then speeds right up again.

The next piece was the Violin Concerto in G minor by Max Bruch. The concerto was played by Nicola Benedetti who is an inspiration to all young violin players including me. It was simply spectacular. The 1st movement was quite slow but had a couple of fast areas. It wasn’t my favourite movement but it was a lovely section to listen to. The 2nd movement was a sad and slow piece and brought tears to the audience’s eyes. It was a magnificent piece played by Nicola Benedetti who made it sound sad (in a good way) by doing long bows which made it sound elegant and graceful. The 3rd movement was a fast and booming section as the accompaniment was played mainly by the trumpets, trombone and the tuba. It was really good and it was a very interesting movement.

After the interval, the next piece of music was The Planets. Mars was the first and it was about the war god and it was an aggressive piece. I imagined it to be like the trumpets were sounding that the war god was coming near and the strings were rushing out of sight. Venus the god of peace was next. It was a peaceful and melodic movement which swung to a steady beat. Mercury the winged messenger was like the planet whizzing / flying around to the other planets to deliver messages. Jupiter the bringer of jollity was a bright and bubbly movement and it just made you want to tap your feet in time with the beat. Saturn the bringer of old age was like an old person walking slowly as there was a clear and steady beat and it got louder when the old person got nearer and it got softer when the old person faded into distance. Uranus the magician was my favourite as at the beginning it was as if the conductor was the magician with his wand (the baton) and as he pointed and waved it at a group (example: the strings) they sprang to life and started to play. As the piece went on, the magician tried more tricks and at the end as he pointed at a group of instruments and they faded away. Neptune the mystic was next and it sounded really mysterious. It was like you were entering a dark cave and couldn’t get out. You didn’t know what would happen next and I loved it.

Overall I would see it again and hope this will encourage young people to listen to classical music and would like the opportunity to do the young reviewer programme in the future.

Charlotte, aged 12

The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra were conducted by Andrew Litton with Nicola Benedetti, Violin and the Ladies of the London Symphony Chorus.

Elgar, Cockaigne (In London Town) - overture for orchestra, Op.40 Bruch, Violin Concerto no. 1 in G minor, Op.26 Holst, The Planets, Op.32

credit: Kevin Westenberg.