Europe Day Concert
Posted by jonathanfryer on Friday, 9th May, 2014
As Greece currently holds the six-monthly rotating European Council presidency there was a Greek theme to tonight’s Europe Day concert in St John’s, Smith Square. The programme included two lively folkloric dances by the 20th century Greek composer, Nikos Skalkottas (1904-1949), but most of the other works drew their inspiration from classical Greek legends and literature. Thus we heard extracts from Monteverdi’s Orfeo, Gluck’s Alceste and Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, among others. The Richard Strauss Interlude added to to Mozart’s Idomeneo in 1931 was a novelty for me; apparently in Strauss’s time the original opera was considered a bit serious and dated. The combination was certainly intriguing. As ever, the European Youth Orchestra, conducted by Dominic Wheeler, was of a phenomenally high standard and four young singers — Monica Bantos, Elsa Galasio, Sophie Rennert (who I’d heard previously performing at Europe House) and Camille Tresmontant — enchanted, not least in a comparatively frivolous Offenbach Finale. Beethoven’s ODE to Joy (the European anthem) rounded off the evening, with the entire audience rising to their feet. It was enough to give any UKIP supporters in the church an apoplexy, but I guess there were none. And I am sure I was not alone in rejoicing in the display of the flags of all the EU member states flying in Parliament Square as I made my way home.