Classical: Mime and magic
Royal Festival Hall Concerts London
Monday 26 April 1999
Harding's lean interpretative style suited Mozart's Coronation Piano Concerto even better and there was the inestimable bonus of having Christian Zacharias as soloist. I can honestly say that in all my years of concert- going I have never heard a finer performance of a Mozart piano concerto, one where fantasy and finesse, virtuosity and musicality, and individualism tempered by scholarship have been more in evidence. Heard after Zacharias's exquisite Mozart, Harding's extrovert Also sprach Zarathustra seemed like an egoist bore sounding off, though the growling fugue that represents the vanity of science was impressive. It was an exciting performance, well played and thrilling at the halfway point where the "Sunrise" idea suddenly returns.
Christian Thielemann's Philharmonia Brahms's Fourth featured a full tonal palette and some excitable tempos. It was one of the freest, most individualistic performances that London audiences have heard in a long while. Where Harding mimes, Thielemann leaps skywards, then crouches to quieten his forces. Beyond the Symphony's catastrophic closing bars, he stormed from the rostrum red-faced, evidently ruffled by the confrontation - and with good reason. He had created a cauldron of sound, with surging string lines in the Andante moderato and ear-splitting brass in the finale. The buzz factor in the hall was virtually tangible. This was no run-of-the-mill maestro, but a formidable force with highly original ideas.
Like Harding, Thielemann had an excellent soloist for a centre-placed Mozart concerto, the Third for violin this time, where Christian Tetzlaff combined an intense vibrato with extraordinarily agile bowing. The concert had opened with something of a rarity, Schumann's pick-me-up concert piece for four horns and orchestra, where Michael Thompson, Laurence Davies, Robert McIntosh and James Handy sounded resplendent with a mere handful of split notes between them.
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Snoop Dogg and Jared Leto buy a stake in Reddit as A-list invests $50m
- 2 Prince held a Facebook Q&A and this is the only question he answered...
- 3 'F*ck it, I quit': KTVA reporter Charlo Greene quits live on air in spectacular fashion
- 4 35,000 walrus gather on north-west Alaska beach 'for a rest'
- 5 Brad Pitt, on the moment he completely lost his temper with Clint Eastwood's son
Ed Sheeran dedicates song to David Cameron
Thrill of the chaste: The truth about Gandhi's sex life
Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon
Great British Bake Off semi-final, review: Richard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
'Before They Pass Away': Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'
Exclusive: 'Putin's Russia has been my biggest regret,' says Nato's outgoing Secretary General
The Osborne Ultimatum: Chancellor’s benefits freeze bombshell will affect ten million households
There’s no excuse for Dave Lee Travis’s behaviour, but we need to keep a sense of proportion
Former Tory donor Arron Banks ups his Ukip donation to £1million following William Hague 'nobody' comment
Mark Reckless becomes second Tory MP to defect to Ukip in a month
Should gay sex be illegal? 16% of Britons think so
- < Previous
- Next >