Thursday, August 23, 2007


Rather unjustly, I think, Andrew Clements has a reputation in some circles for being a 'dour modernist'. Well, he certainly champions demanding new music and maximalism. Good for him on that. But he also operates from a wide musical palette, as is indicated by this enthusiastic review of the Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra's appearance in London. The progamme included Shostakovitch's stunning Tenth Symphony - one of my favourite works, and a piece of daunting musical and emotional scale.

Clements begins: "I am not sure anything quite like Gustavo Dudamel and his extraordinary group of young musicians have ever hit the Proms before. Whatever you have read about the Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra - and the astonishing Venezuelan system of musical education that brought it into being - can't convey the brilliance and disarming exuberance of their playing, or the importance of Dudamel's role in channelling that energy. There are some great youth orchestras around today, but none of them is as exciting to behold as this." Read on.

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