My bonny John Wilson conducted this overture, along with William Walton’s Symphony no.1, on 21 September 2019 at the Bridgewater Hall in Manchester (broadcast on the 24th followed by 30 days of streaming, till 23 October). Only thing I know about Dmitri Kabalevsky (1904 – 1987), that old Communist, is his “Comedians” Suite—which John may very well end up doing sometime, if he hasn’t already—and the dauntingly massive bildungsroman Jean-Christophe by Romain Rolland, who also wrote the original novel the opera Colas Breugnon is based on. (Never finished Jean-Christophe, may yet. Let you know.) This piece is typical of the kind of repertoire John is getting known for: bright, busy, theatrical, uncomplex, and quite entertaining.
It was also pleasing to hear the BBCCO playing under John’s baton a creditable rendition of Walton’s first and most frequently programmed (as a matter of fact, Petrenko conducted this in London back in March) and recorded symphony. This is a good gig for John, the first concert of the season at Bridgewater Hall. Quite an honor, in fact.