“Matthew Halls, visiting with the Kansas City Symphony, is a compelling conductor to watch, with an energy that is palpable and an attention to detail that is very constant, fine, and communicated – personally, it would seem – to the various sections of the orchestra, sometimes even to individuals. There’s also a warmth in his interpretations, and touches of quirky idiosyncrasy which brought out nicely the playful elements of the first work on tonight’s programme, Haydn’s Symphony no. 102 in B flat major. The symphony was well articulated, and conveyed a brisk energy and an elegance throughout.
“It’s useful to get an insight into a conductor’s relationship with a composer, perhaps more particularly a living one, and clearly Macmillan had been a formative influence. Hall’s clear feeling for the music – and his intellectual grasp of the cosmic catholicity of the work – surely explain the notable success of tonight’s performance…It’s always instructive – enlightening even – to give people their first symphonic experience, to witness a fresh reaction, unmediated by expectation or convention. In music, as in life, one never quite knows what is coming next, an appropriate reflection in a jittery moment in world history.
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