Review: A Celebration of David Bowie. Royal Concert Hall Nottingham.

five star

A Celebration of David Bowie with the Army of Generals and The British Paraorchestra conducted by Charles Hazlewood is an incredible acoustic and orchestral experience taking a musically diverse journey through two of Bowie’s albums. The influences of Philip Glass and Brian Eno on Bowie’s Berlin period and the two albums ‘Heroes’ and ‘Low’ are what dictate the whole tone of the concert. This is not an evening with a Bowie impersonator nor is it an orchestral variety of cover versions. It is much more enriching and profound than that. Bowie would have loved it.

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The evening is split into two sections; the first being Philip Glass Symphony no 1 “Low” featuring three tracks, Subterraneans, Some Are and Warszawa. The second part is influenced by Bowie’s album Heroes with six parts, Heroes, Abdulmajid, Sense of Doubt, Sons of the Silent Age, Neuköln and V2 Schneider and again it is written by composer Philip Glass as his Symphony no 4 “Heroes”.

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Both pieces played by the forty-two piece orchestra are sublimely hypnotic in parts, overwhelmingly engaging in many sections and dramatically exhilarating particularly in the final piece V2 Schneider. These are extraordinary re-imaginings of the two iconic works accompanied by a visually compelling lighting set by lighting designer Alex Shenton-Parkin.

As the stunning and ethereal shafts of light played over the few vacant seats during one of the most profoundly moving pieces this reviewer imagined the spirit of David Bowie sat entranced and greatly admiring this fantastic orchestra and it’s passionate award winning conductor Charles Hazelwood. The pieces get awarded with four curtain calls and enormous applause at the finale of this sterling performance at Nottingham Royal Concert Hall.

Photo credit: Lily Holman

Reviewer: Phil Lowe

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