Orchestral Concert to fight cancer at Royal Concert Hall

The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra played a selection of 20th Century tunes in aid of three cancer charities on Friday night, and by the end of the show The Tab were dancing along.

The evening got off to a fairly slow start with Korngold’s Sea Hawk Overture and Gershwin’s Piano Concerto in F.

Mention has to go to the soloist Jonathan Scott who made the challenging work look like a piece of cake, but it never felt like it really got going.

The good stuff cropped up in the second half. First: Copland’s 4 Dance Episodes from Rodeo – think cowboys and line dancing – which finally gave the impression of some energy from the orchestra.

Barber’s Adagio for Strings was up next; a slow, moving piece that calmed the concert hall down after the manic Hoe-Down from the previous piece.

All for a good cause

All for a good cause

Clearly the orchestra were saving their energy for the finale: Bernstein’s Symphonic Dances from West Side Story.

The well-loved musical was condensed into 9 shorter excerpts that still demanded a lot from the performers, and they certainly pulled it off. Particular mention has to go to the percussionists who could be seen leaping about the stage in a frenzy to get everything in time.

Conductor Nicholas Collon

Conductor Nicholas Collon

‘Somewhere’ nearly had The Tab weeping, and the lively ‘Mambo’ had us wishing we could jump up and do just that.

The concert ended with a chat from the conductor Nicholas Collon who encouraged everyone to whip out their phones and take pictures for their encore of Gershwin’s Girl Crazy that included the famous ‘I Got Rhythm’ tune; this was almost the highlight of the evening.

What could have been a fantastic evening was let down by a slightly lacklustre first half, but perhaps they were just saving the best ‘til last.

The concert was in aid of MacMillan Cancer Support, Cancer Research UK and The Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust.