More than 70 concerts have been written for the British percussionist Evelyn Glennie, and the latest is an entertaining romp for trombone, percussion and orchestra by the irrepressible Christian Lindberg. The Swedish trombonist, conductor and composer wrote Liverpool Lullabies off the back of his residency with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and a love of the Beatles.
Yet there were no signs of nodding off in the Cheltenham Music Festival audience; this bright, tonal burst of energy and colour couldn’t be less like a lullaby. Lyricism alternated with frenetic outbursts, jazz-tinged bittersweet melody with volleys of percussion. Lindberg was wonderfully eloquent on trombone, but it was the percussion part that drew the eye and ear. Glennie, long hair flying free, danced around her lair of tuned and untuned percussion instruments, which took up a good chunk of the stage. her miraculously controlled sound was loud and fierce one moment, soft and delicate the next.
Glennie was also on virtuosic form in the solo snare drum Prim, by the Icelandic composer Askell Masson. With rhythmic patterns based on the first 15 prime numbers, this is a whipcrack-smart showpiece. […]
After these two larger-than-life soloists, a big musical personality was needed in the second half. who better than Beethoven? John Lubbock conducted the Orchestra of St John’s from memory and baton-less, and they gave a heartfelt, headstrong performance of the Eroica Symphony. There were ragged corners and fast tempos that sagged, but this was Beethoven with indomitable spirit – as it should be.
Cheltenham Music Festival, Cheltenham
07 July 2016