Concert review: Brahms X Radiohead | 02.24.24, Stifel Theatre

It was a beautiful spring night in the middle of February for St Louis to wonder at and enjoy. Our St. Louis Symphony Orchestra was in wonderful form for the night’s offering. Conductor Steve Hackman’s artful mix of classical music along with contemporary created a wonderful platform for the three singers who started us off with Radiohead’s most popular song, “Creep.”

This was the best version of this often-covered song that I’ve ever heard. The orchestra was flawless and the vocals of the three singers—Rich Saunders, Khalil Overton, and Erin Bentlage—were at times plaintive, drawing attention to the loneliness present in the lyrics. It was unfortunate that later in the program, their voices were sometimes overshadowed by the orchestra.

The rest of the performance showcased Radiohead’s album OK Computer with songs like “Paranoid Android” and “Karma Police” and Johannes Brahms’ First Symphony in sometimes discordant ways. At times playing Brahms with Radiohead’s lyrics, then playing Radiohead’s music. It was integrated well with Hackman’s enthusiastic conducting, which was compared by one theatergoer to fencing—his baton stabbing into the air, and our wonderful Symphony following his lead.

Overall, the concept of mixing modern musicians with classical is brave and creative. Both Brahms and Radiohead would have been delighted to hear their music merged and celebrated together. | Melissa Cynova

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