Classical favourites

It used to be said you were a person of culture if you could listen to the galloping strains of Rossini’s William Tell Overture without thinking of the Lone Ranger, which was used as the theme tune for the 1950s TV show.

A more recent definition involves hearing the strident marching tones of Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet and not bringing to mind the BBC series The Apprentice.

Both pieces were given an airing when The Halle performed at Sheffield City Hall last weekend.

The Rossini overture opened the programme and it was a perfect curtain-raiser, although Tonto was nowhere to be seen.

Likewise, there was no appearance of Lord Alan Sugar for the Prokofiev suite which occupied the whole of the second half of the evening’s entertainment.

There were some tasty moments but listening to eight separate pieces reminded me of eating tapas.

It was mouthwatering and frequently scrumptious but at the end I didn’t feel as if I’d had a proper meal.

Finishing the first half was Polina Leschenko who performed Liszt’s Piano Concerto No 2, which should have been the concert’s highlight.

Russian-born Leschenko has received rave reviews everywhere she has played.

Indeed, Polina is a very special talent and her playing throughout the dramatic one-movement piece was beyond criticism.

But such was the extent of the accompaniment provided by The Halle, that her exquisite piano playing was frequently swamped, which was a great shame.

Classical music returns to Sheffield City Hall on Friday, May 11, when the Berlin Symphony Orchestra perform works by Weber, Prokofiev, Beethoven and Sibeleus, starting at 7pm.