This website uses cookies. Using this website means you are okay with this but you can find out more and learn how to manage your cookie choices here.
What's Onreview

Review: Karl Jenkins’ 70th Birthday Concert at Symphony Hall


Welsh composer Karl Jenkins

This was a jaw-dropping concert to me, of personally unknown contemporary music with strong references to many world-wide religions.

A recent survey shows that Karl Jenkins is now the most performed living composer. Be that as it may, as a sceptical classical specialist I was totally won over by moving emotions, inspired by the immense diversity of this truly accessible and ingenious music.

I was genuinely delighted to hear our City of Birmingham Choir giving their all and obviously relishing the many exciting challenges in the music.

A huge range from soft luscious harmonies, to rumbustious exotic rhythms backed by unusual percussion. Here we were treated to countless ethnic instruments.

 Much of the backing was from hand-percussionist Zands Duggan – a star surrounded by huge congas and tom-toms, but with small effects whispering through ( tambourine, cabaca etc.).

Mesmerising foot-tapping repetitions kept five other percussionists constantly busy, including a group clapping scene. Who turns pages when all hands are full?

The Manchester Concert Orchestra was delightfully challenged and busy throughout, with fine soloists shining through: no holds barred, lovely playing.

Karl Jenkins discreetly conducted, creating lots of variety for splendid euphonium soloist David Childs in the dedicated concerto.

And, finally, what a delight to hear soloists contralto Belinda Sykes and mezzo-soprano Kathryn Rudge – more from them next time, please.



View full mobile page