Andrew Gourlay back with the Hallé
In a series of seven concerts with the Hallé, the fascinating programme of Shostakovich, Tchaikovsky, Delius and Barber had drama, passion and romance; on seeing the recent performance of the programme at the Westmorland Hall, Kendal, Michael Cookson of Seen and Heard International felt that, ‘With such disarming vitality and exuberance the excellent Hallé played as if their life depended on it’.
In the interview for Hallé Play below, Andrew talks about his time as Assistant Conductor of the Hallé and gives an illuminating insight into the pieces.
Two of the pieces featuring in these concerts were inspired by one of the best-known romantic stories of all time – Romeo and Juliet. The music of Tchaikovsky’s Fantasy Overture: Romeo and Juliet is based on three main strands of Shakespeare’s story – Friar Lawrence, the warring Montagues and Capulets, and of course the love theme. The music is passionate and full of foreboding, with the love theme bringing in the climax with a huge crescendo of the timpani.
Delius wrote the sumptuously orchestrated The Walk to the Paradise Garden for his most successful opera, A Village Romeo and Juliet. It has been described by Philip Heseltine as showing ‘all the tragic beauty of mortality ... concentrated and poured forth in music of overwhelming, almost intolerable poignancy.’
This audio excerpt is from the Hallé's recording of Delius' The Walk to the Paradise Garden from the 2003 English Rhapsody CD featuring the work of Delius and George Butterworth.
Another hugely romantic piece, Samuel Barber’s brilliantly crafted Violin Concerto, will be performed by Valeriy Sokolov who is becoming known for his astonishingly mature interpretations of some of the most difficult works in the violin repertoire.
The concerts will conclude with Andrew Gourlay’s reading of Shostakovich’s fascinating Symphony No.6 which begins with an extraordinary slow movement and progresses through to a triumphant conclusion.
Hallé Uncovered features the Hallé and Andrew Gourlay rehearsing the first and second movements of the symphony.
The audio excerpt below is the second movement Allegro from Symphony No.6, recorded by the Hallé and conductor Stanislaw Skrowaczewski in 1997.
Andrew Gourlay was appointed as the Hallé’s Assistant Conductor in 2010, and in the same year he won First Prize in the Cadaques International Conducting Competition, securing concerts with 29 orchestras around the world. 2010 also saw him selected by Gramophone magazine as their 'One to Watch', and in 2011 by BBC Music Magazine as their 'Rising Star: great artists of tomorrow'.