Peter Moore’s recent declaration that the two-year lockdown had helped fuel his appetite to return to live solo performances has meant that the trombone star now has a packed ‘to do’ list itinerary.
It says a great deal of about his generosity of spirit that these include the commitment to honour engagements that were initially cancelled due to Covid-19. This appearance back on his old patch in Saddleworth was a case in point.
A mesmerised audience also knew it had been worth every minute of the wait though, as the LSO star provided the festival with an opening concert recital of memorable artistry.
The interpretations of the diverse repertoire - from Bach and Gouinguene to Korngold and Pryor were stamped with a startling transparency of understanding and purpose, aided by Robert Thompson’s osmotic accompaniment; malleable, textured and ever inventive.
The tender lyricism of ‘Marietta’s Lied’ and ‘Tanzlied des Pierrot’ from Korngold’s bleak, but life-affirming opera ‘Die Tote Stadt’ yearned with beauty.
The unaccompanied sounds of the famous ‘Prelude in D’ by Bach was styled with a delicate spaciousness, before the ‘Concerto’ by Christian Gouinguene bristled both with energy and time defying stillness. The tender lyricism of ‘Marietta’s Lied’ and ‘Tanzlied des Pierrot’ from Korngold’s bleak, but life-affirming 1920 opera ‘Die Tote Stadt’ yearned with beauty.
Familiarity came with Arthur Pryor’s ‘Love’s Enchantment’, delivered with the tenderest appreciation of articulated phrasing, and Faure’s ‘Après un rêve’ – a vision of softly spoken dreamlike happiness.
The lyrical beauty of Faure's 'Des Roses d'Ispahan' led into Duparc’s poetic evocation of a past life in ‘La vie Anteriure’ also provided a telling counterpoint to the playful pyrotechnics of Bizet’s ‘Tarantelle’. The palette cleansing fromage textures of Jack White’s ‘Three After Dinner Pieces’ - from the unsynchronised fanfares of the opening ‘Stilton’ and a warm slab of ‘Caerphilly’ to the creamy gallic glissandi of ‘Epoisses’, brought the official programme to an end.
The encore, demanded by an audience who would have stayed all day listening to such musicality, was Pryor’s ‘Fantastic Polka’ – played just as it said it should be on the tin.