RNCM Symphony Orchestra @ Bridgewater Hall - Classical and opera - Music - Entertainment - Manchester Evening News

For the Messiaen, Pascal Rophé was the conductor: Pascale Rousse-Lacordaire played the ondea (a modernised version of the ondes Martenot), and the piano soloist was the RNCM's own Mikhail Shilyaev. They made a highly efficient team, and M Rophe steered the orchestra's players through a remarkable and vital performance. Hardened professionals may deliver this most youthful music with a certain polished veneer and smoothing of its joinery. But here the joints were clear - a tiny bit rough, sometimes - but pretty sound, and sounding pulsatingly alive. They played Messiaen's ‘love songs' as if they really were about love. They romped through his fifth movement (‘Joy of the blood of the stars'), taken daringly fast, as if born to play it. They put unashamed schmaltz into his ‘Garden of love's sleep'. It's music for the young at heart - an apt symbol of the achievement of a man who has given himself heart and soul to Manchester's music and the college's welfare. He will be much missed.