This April, the BBC Philharmonic charts a wondrously eclectic odyssey through the storied classical hotbeds of Europe, from the southernmost tip of Andalusia to the icy tundras of Scandinavia, with an unmissable programme of concerts led by a cohort of world-renowned talent at The Bridgewater Hall.

Tapas and Some French Bon Bons | Sat 13 Apr | 7.30pm | £14.50-£29

On Sat 13 Apr, the BBC Philharmonic presents an evening of sun-drenched virtuosity with Tapas and Some French Bon Bons, a soaring celebration of Mediterranean classical music which imbues the rain-drenched streets of Manchester with vibrant, passionate heat.

Led by conductor Juanjo Mena alongside the welcome return of world-renowned violinist James Ehnes, the orchestra brings the fiesta fire of Spanish summer to the city with Saint-Saens’ blistering Third Violin Concerto, originally written for the Romantic icon Pablo de Sarasate, and Manuel de Falla sustains the simmering energy with The Three-Cornered Hat, a joyous arrangement filled with flamenco rhythms and Andalusian folk inflections. Before passion can boil over into mania, Mena restores order with Berlioz’s taut, triumphant Overture ‘Le carnival romain’ and Ravel’s Alborada de gracioso.

Viennese Whirl | Sat 20 Apr | 7.30pm | £14.50-£29

Featuring works by Strauss, Berg and Beethoven, this one-off concert charts the peerlessly rich heritage of Austria’s capital, considered the epicentre of the Western classical tradition from fin de siècle Europe to the modern day.

Forming the base of the BBC Philharmonic’s indulgent musical Sachertorte, Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony arrives in a rollicking pageant of rhythm and dance, shot through with Spanish flourishes, while Berg’s anguished yet delicate Violin Concerto offers one of the most imaginative pieces ever written for the instrument, before Strauss’s Emperor Waltz provides a fitting garnish, with a bonus trip down the Viennese stretch of the Danube to round off a memorable night of Austrian majesty.

Nordic Noir | Sat 27 Apr | 7.30pm | £14.50-£29

The following Saturday, the BBC Philharmonic makes a short trip north from Vienna to the brooding climes of Scandinavia with Nordic Noir, a spellbinding celebration of Europe’s winter wonderland.

The programme showcases Bruckner’s Fifth Symphony, a warm and comforting ‘cathedral of sound’ with arrangements as cavernous and solemn as the grandest place of worship, while Sibelius’s poetic En Saga conjures the rugged beauty of Finland with a dose of Nordic impressionism inspired by its ancient myths and legends. Lotta Wennäkoski adds her own measured patina atop Sibelius’s work, infusing her own compositions with his orchestral depictions of stark mountains and sweeping vistas in Verdigris.

A Manchester Wire Partnership post
The Bridgewater Hall,
Lower Mosley St, Manchester, M2 3WS
Wolf McFarlane
Published on:
Wed 3 Apr 2024