Star rating: ***
There is not much new music in the programme directed by the three "emergent leaders" responsible for this week's free lunchtime recitals, starting today, that being the job of the academy's Plug season.
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The piece followed James MacMillan's Three Dawn Rituals rather well, although its gamelan-inspired score, with prepared piano and vibraphone, jazz rhythms and high-frequency piccolo and E flat clarinet make it fairly atypical MacMillan. Unusual pieces such as this will certainly make the marking of the composer's half- century more interesting.
In parts, its underscore was like a very fast continuo, so its programming after Bach's Brandenburg Concert No 1 was interesting, just as the closing of the concert with Stravinsky's Dumbarton Oaks was deliberately intended to mirror that piece's inspiration of two centuries earlier. The plain fact is that this generation of players are patently more comfortable with twentieth century music. The Stravinsky was boldly played and confidently conducted by Williams while the Bach, directed by Batikian from the violin, wobbled badly in the Allegro third movement and suffered from poor balance throughout - with her solo violin all but lost in the mix - before recovering in some fluid playing of the minuet and trio.