The BBC Philharmonic’s first concert of 2018 is a travelogue of sorts, lifting us away from Manchester’s January gloom and transporting us across Europe. The evening begins and ends in Bohemia with a pair of sparkling pieces that conjure up images of their composers’ homeland: Smetana’s hugely enjoyable overture to his opera The Bartered Bride, and Janácek’s Sinfonietta, a heart-on-sleeve love letter to his home town of Brno. In between, the orchestra returns a little closer to home: France, to be precise, in the company of two charismatically Gallic composers and an equally brilliant French-Canadian pianist. The pianist is Louis Lortie, a regular guest with the orchestra. And the composers are Camille Saint-Saëns, whose Fourth Piano Concerto is always a treat, and Hector Berlioz, represented here by an orchestral rarity culled from his opera The Trojans. Great British conductor Edward Gardner makes a guest appearance on the podium for this appealing programme.
Edward Gardner – Conductor
Louis Lortie – Piano