We went to a concert on Friday which we had booked some time ago and was supposed to be Mahler's 4th Symphony and the other was a commissioned work for a first performance by the BBC Wales composer in residence Simon Holt Unfortunately we got an email to say that the main singer for the Holt piece was unwell and couldn't be replaced at short notice so the Holt piece was being replaced by a Haydn symphony.
A bit of a strange replacement I thought, going from a contemporary work to a classical symphony, it would have been more understandable if they had replaced it with a more modern work. However they did perform the Haydn beautifully, and I had never heard it before so that was lovely.
The second half was the Mahler which I have never heard live, and which was fabulous. I had goose bumps and shivers through a lot of it. Thierry Fischer was conducting the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and he is really very good. Brian was really impressed by his technical skill as a conductor (stick technique etc) and I was really impressed by the emotion and how he gave the music enough space to be itself. There is a fashion these days to play classical music really FAST, so much so that I listened to a piece of Swan Lake and it would have been impossible to dance to, so it is refreshing to listen to a concert where the conductor isn't playing the music so fast you feel he wants to get the early train home.
It was also confirmation that the performance of Mahler's 1st we went to in the Millenium Centre was in completely the wrong venue because the sound was wonderful in St Davids Hall and dreadful in the Millenium centre.