The musicians, who played wonderfully all evening, were conducted by Andrew Gourlay in his American debut. He brought an economy of motion to the podium, but produced dazzling results.
Andrew Gourlay is a star in the ascendant. He scraped off the crust of over-familiarity from Tchaikovsky’s score with the briskness of a man brushing frost from his car windscreen. Gourlay conducted with the lightest of touches that paradoxically revealed Nutcracker’s kernel of darkness.
I became completely emotionally consumed by this performance, bold and vivid, tremendous and overwhelming.
It is quite some time since we heard a concert of such quality… A performance that will be remembered as extraordinary.
This conductor alternates sweetness and tension; ebbing and flowing whilst maintaining a beautiful precision within the musical line... what an amazing roller-coaster ride! Let’s rejoice: Andrew Gourlay will be returning in January.
This was an overwhelming performance with the Hallé musicians performing with remarkable commitment and energy. I wonder if we should be hailing Andrew Gourlay as the new Barbirolli.
One wonders what the future now holds for Andrew Gourlay. The impression was of the emergence of an exciting young conductor with tremendous potential.
The great formal arc of the long, lamenting first movement was expertly realised, the splenetic terseness of the tiny scherzo (an alleged denunciation of Stalin) all one would hope for, and the encrypted narrative structure offered itself vividly to the imagination.
The CBSO under Andrew Gourlay played their socks off in what will probably be their most artistically significant performance this year.
Musically the show was a revelation.... this challenging score was superbly played by the CBSO under Andrew Gourlay.
The cast sang and acted superbly, aided by Andrew Gourlay’s excellent City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra.