#Review: Spirit Of Christmas, Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool 23rd December 2022


This was a spine tinglingly good concert from start to finish!

The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra; Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Choir and Liverpool Philharmonic Youth Choir are in a league of their own. They are all consummate professionals who made traditional Christmas and classical music come to life.  All delivered an astonishingly perfect, faultless performance throughout the evening.  This was a true musical extravaganza at the highest level and both my daughter and I felt privileged to not only witness this sensational Christmas spectacle but also to be given the opportunity to review it.

The Orchestra under leadership of Thelma Handy and Chorusmaster Ian Tracey performed over seventy concerts last season in its acoustically perfect, prestigious home of the Concert Hall within the Liverpool Philharmonic Theatre. It is of no wonder that RLPO achieved esteemed accolades such as:Gramophone Orchestral Recording of the Year and the BBC Music Magazine Award.  They are also in concert demand to collate with classical and popular musical artists.   

The evening was presented and kept to timings by Kadiatu Kanneh-Mason who did a sterling job filling time with anecdotes and poetry readings between performances. She embodied the true meaning of Christmas with tales of wonderment, family squabbles and the joy and magic of Christmas through the eyes of a parent.  She enthusiatically introduced the concert’s Christmas gift of Artist in Residence Pacho Flores, who is a sublime accomplished trumpet player with international acclaim. Flores gave an unbelievable performance which enthralled the audience with awe and astonishment.  His versatility to switch trumpets, take the lead on numerous songs and return to play an integral role as part of the brass section was captivating.  The high calibre of this artist epitomises the great demand he is in around the world.  Astonishingly, he still finds time to play in and ultimately win, many competitions.  

The Liverpool Philharmonic Choir and Liverpool Philharmonic Youth Choir were also exquisitely sublime, evoking emotions with their searing voices. Simon Emery Artistic director of the youth choir enthusiastically conductings his tutees and clapped like a proud parent during their final bow.  He has done a wonderful job and clearly has created stars of the future who will no doubt graduate to become members of the main choir. 

Ian Tracey has been conducting the Christmas concerts since 1986.  He is a seasoned professional who is liked and respected by artists and audiences alike.Having also held the position of Liverpool Cathedral Conductor plus, receiving an honorary doctorate, University of Liverpool for his contribution to music, he was also appointed to the position of Deputy Lieutenant of Merseyside. It is further astonishing that he has the time to meet the great demand as an organ recitalist around the Uk, Europe and USA. not to mention record,teach,write and lecture in music.

This annual event must not be missed next year by cultural enthusiasts.  The range of Christmas carols which encouraged audience participation and classical music performed made this a first class experience for all.

Overall rating: 10/10

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