Rebecca Miller, Conductor Rebecca Miller, Conductor Rebecca Miller, Conductor Rebecca Miller, Conductor Rebecca Miller, Conductor Rebecca Miller, Conductor Rebecca Miller, Conductor Rebecca Miller, Conductor Rebecca Miller, Conductor
Rebecca Miller, Conductor
Reviews
OAE/Miller/Queen Elizabeth Hall

So, which of Johann Sebastian Bach's 20 children would you like to have at your dinner party? Half of them never reached adulthood, but from the rest my choice would be Carl Philipp emauel Bach, second son of the great man's first wife. The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment's advance publicity described him as 'avant-garde, eccentric, a maniac, off the wall, extraordinary', so the dinner party wouldn't be dull.

This concert certainly wasn't. Even the boldest symphonies of Haydn never topped CPE's for turbulent expression. Abrupt harmonic shifts, angular melodies, impetuous dynamics, febrile intensity: you couldn't ask for better examples of the artistic movement labelled 'Sturm und Drang' (storm and stress).

The Symphony in D, published in 1780, kept us on edge almost throughout, with only one brief sunny pause to ease tension. And the OAE met vigour with vigour. Strings scurried, horns whooped, sudden fortissimos slashed the air - all spiritedly stirred by the American conductor Rebecca Miller, a miracle of perpetual motion herself.

Four other pocket symphonies hurtled by, some just for strings, each packed with more drama than some composers have manufactured in a lifetime. Then in the centre, proud as a peacokc, stood the bizarre 1788 Concert in E flat for harpsichord and fortepiano, the former already at the point verging on an antique.

Placed against the orchestra's strong colous both instruments brought to mind mice scampering in stiletto heels. Yet with CPE devotees such as Mahan Esfahani (harpsichord) and Danny Driver (fortepiano) at work, our ears soon adjusted and each filigree exchange brought delight.

Geoff Brown, The Times (London)
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