Tuesday’s gala concert at the Royal Festival Hall was a brilliant tribute to both Pancreatic Cancer UK and Beethoven; a composer who against the odds, through tragedy and disease, strived to celebrate the beauty of life. The concert was a perfect illustration of this.
A positive atmosphere charged the packed concert hall and it was fantastic to see Britain’s emerging classical stars unite with some of our most established musicians to perform for our cause - one that impacts people from all walks of life.
Our Ambassador, and world famous clarinettist, Michael Collins changed his tune, proving his prowess as a conductor. We think everyone in the audience would agree he elicited electrifying playing from all the musicians.
The concert began with Beethoven’s triple concerto, which was delivered with real spirit and finesse from young soloists Laura van der Heijden on the cello, pianist Julian Clef and violinist Callum Smart. Despite their youth, it was a composed yet florid performance from the three soloists. The lively trio also treated their audience to a cheeky improvisation before the interval, which was both a delightful and fun surprise.
The concert ended on an inspiring note with Beethoven’s 9th, which is arguably one of the most famous pieces in Western civilisation: an iconic piece of music, full of reference to the human struggle and the eventual victory of hope. Operatic heavy weights Sir Willard White, Natalya Romaniw, Anne-Marie Owens and Robert Murray provided heroic and epic solos echoed by thrilling sounds from the orchestra and chorus. The concert was proof – if any were ever needed - that Beethoven’s 9nth symphony is best enjoyed live and if you are as lucky as we were to experience this with world class musicians, it is a feast for the ears.
We would like to thank all the musicians involved, and the audience who attended and supported us at the gala concert. It was a celebration of triumph over adversity and provided the belief that even through the most difficult of times music can provide profound comfort and hope.
Our online auction supporting the event continues until 22nd January with some amazing prizes to be won, including a tour of the Classic FM studios, a holiday in Val d'Isere and a signed Jenson Button helmet! Get bidding now. Plus, if you couldn't be at the concert, the event will be broadcast on Classic FM on Tuesday 20th January at 8pm.