In his relationship with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, conductor Jac van Steen’s championing of a younger generation of Welsh composers is remarkable. His vigour and commitment constitutes its own advocacy. The new clarinet concerto by Mark David Boden (not to be confused with Mark Bowden, former BBC NOW composer-in-residence and member of the Camberwell Composers’ Collective) was written for the orchestra’s principal clarinettist Robert Plane.
By way of invoking common ground, Boden homed in on their shared passion for running in movements entitled Adrenaline, Isotonic, Threshold and Hypertension. Rather than elevated in aesthetic or philosophical terms, this was hyper-energetic, brimful with motor energy, with Plane’s tireless virtuosity speaking for itself.