York Barbican re-opens - three cheers!

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Many of us doubted we'd ever see the Barbican re-open, and as York's largest concert hall, that would have been a massive tragedy.

The animosity towards the politicians who closed it in the first place might never fully go away, but we have to celebrate the success of getting it open once again.

SMG Europe is a big and professional company and will ensure we have many class acts in York.. and that began last night with the BBC Philharmonic and Alison Balsom.

The auditorium still needs some work, but the bar (and now a restaurant (where the gym used to be!)) look pretty tidy.

Elgar kicked off the concert - and allegro for a string quartet backed by the whole string section. Haydn's Trumpet Concerto in E flat followed, showcasing "Britain's hottest trumpet player" Alison Balsom. While I can't help but agree with Charlie, and she was a superb trumpet player, and the 'bridesmaid' dress was stunning, the Haydn piece is a boring exercise in what you can do with a keyed trumpet. Andy D'Agorne read me the section in the programme, stating that Haydn was inspired by the Austrian who'd developed the valves for a trumpet to write this concerto. Chill out Haydn! It was a mindless piece of virtuosity.

Maybe I'm being too harsh...

Tchaikovsky's Pathétique, rounding off the concert, after the interval, was outstanding, touching every emotion. Soaring at times, mournful at others, melodic and mesmerising. It fades away at the end, and as Tchaikovsky's final symphony, premiered just a few days before his death, one might say it peters out.

We stumbled out, almost shell-shocked, to the bar where The Lord Mayor of York delivered a speech. I felt this should have come at the beginning of the evening, perhaps, to all the people of York in the auditorium to make it a truly civic event, but never mind. The Barbican is open again. Three cheers to all concerned.

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