Saturday, September 2, 2017

John Malveaux: Bachtrack: Prom 62: Chineke! Orchestra's late night with Sheku Kanneh-Mason and Jeanine De Bique

Jeanine De Bique with Chineke! and Kevin John Edusei
© BBC | Mark Allan
John Malveaux of 

Chineke! Orchestra is Europe's first professional orchestra of Black and ethnic minority musicians. See August 31, 2017 review of performance

An evening of shorter works by the Chineke! Orchestra provided a varied and exciting programme from Baroque works by Handel to a world première of The Spark Catchers by upcoming UK composer Hannah Kendall. Only two years old, the Chineke! Orchestra do not give the impression of being newly formed, yet give a younger and newer perspective on more traditional repertoire.


The surprise piece of the night was American composer George Walker’s Lyric for Strings in its first performance at the Proms. This was easily the Chineke! Orchestra’s highlight performance of the evening despite a ravishingly bold rendition of the Rimsky-Korsakov. Walker’s piece was delicate and rich with sweeping romantic strings that echo the classical Hollywood film era. Conducted by BBC Proms Debut artist, the vibrant Kevin John Edusei, the Chineke! Orchestra built up to the big romantic flourishes and releases, not in an over-the-top way as can sometimes happen with Hollywood-style music, but with a cunning way of holding moments just a little bit longer, leaving anticipation before releasing into sumptuous harmonies with the whole of the string section of the orchestra moving as one single harmonised voice.

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