Merely two days after presenting a technically demanding programme which included a substantial rarely-heard symphony, the CBSO was back in Symphony Hall for the latest in its hugely popular series of Friday Night Classics, really putting on the style for Best of the West End.
In a way, Wednesday’s composers (Bernstein, Gershwin, Korngold), Hollywood and Broadway rubbing shoulders with their more serious sides, prepared the way for Friday’s razzmatazz, though the CBSO has anyway long proved its class in music for the stage.
There was a lot of material to get through on probably a minimum of rehearsal-time, and the occasional rough edges did show, particularly in terms of balance with the singers and an attendant over-miking of the vocalists.
They were a personable quartet, Gina Beck, Jacqui Scott (and what a cornucopia of fabulous frocks for these two!), Michael Xavier and Mark O’Malley moving suavely through a kaleidoscope of material. Only in the ABBA-sequence encore (audience anthem-waving as to the manner born) did things become a bit slapstick and silly.
Michael England was the efficient conductor, and the CBSO pulled out all the stops for him, the wonderful strings notable in two Phantom of the Opera extracts, the brass snappily big band in Top Hat’s Cheek to Cheek.
Purists might wince at the catchpenny modulations which crowned so many of these songs in such sequential proximity, but no-one could fail to admire the amazing expertise of the CBSO players as these numbers tumbled from their instruments with such dedicated professionalism.