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Music review

Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra

Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra

Perth Concert Hall

Catherine Robb

The RLPO is a big picture orchestra. There were moments during the concert when, the ensemble might not have been perfectly together, when the brass may have overpowered the strings, or when the tuning in the woodwind was less than faultless, but the important things - the parts of an orchestral experience that stick with you for hours after the musicians have gone home, those moments when the music grabs and shakes you with an electrifying gesture - the RLPO gave to the audience in spades on Sunday.

We need more big picture players right now, especially when we are concerned with attracting a larger, more inclusive audience. We need musicians who love music for music's sake, and see the benefits of playing it without the fear that the world will end if one note is out of place.

Under the baton of Vasily Petrenko, who may be the epitome of exciting large-scale music making, the RLPO's rendition of Elgar's In the South was as decadent as it should be, perhaps waning near the end after the slow, somewhat laborious middle section. The orchestra similarly captured the uneasy balance of fragility and solidity in Prokofiev's sixth symphony.

They also did well to show enthusiasm for the Scottish premiere of former Police drummer Stewart Copeland's new percussion concerto, which was harmonically unsophisticated and rhythmically aggressive. Although this Copeland may have been trying to mimic the lofty American heights of Aaron Copland, unfortunately his less mature compositional tool box let down the percussion soloists, with their solo lines lost amid a relentless orchestral accompaniment. There is only so much crotchet equalling 120 beats per minute a person can take in one night.

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