MUSIC / High romance: Anthony Payne on two great European orchestras at the Barbican Centre
Tuesday 26 April 1994
No matter how fine its conductor, the great orchestra always brings a general awareness to its playing for which it alone is responsible, the kind of alertness to internal balance and to complementary phrasing and dynamics on the part of each player that characterises the finest chamber music performances. It was by such means that the Leipzig orchestra gave exquisite shape and tone to Mendelssohn's overture A Midsummer Night's Dream. The glowing sonority of the opening wind harmonies transported us into a magic world which came alive in gossamer fancies when the violins entered.
The orchestra was in no less perfect communion with the majestic lyricism, drama and sheer high spirits of Brahms's Violin Concerto. In Viktoria Mullova we heard a commanding soloist willing to forgo an easy Romanticism in order to reveal the music's monumental power.
The Brahms concerto is one of a number of classic masterpieces which the Leipzig orchestra originally premiered, and the concert ended with another - Schumann's Second Symphony. For many years the Cinderella among Schumann's symphonies, castigated by critics for possessing a fussy scherzo, lopsided finale and a generally grey orchestral palette, the symphony can now be viewed differently. Incorporating one of the greatest of the 19th century's lyric adagios and a finale of inspired unorthodoxy, it deserves, and received under Masur's invigorating lead, playing of great expressive warmth and structural clarity.
Three days later the Royal Concertgebouw orchestra presented another Cinderella of a symphony, Mahler's Seventh, under Riccardo Chailly. Whether it will ever come to be admired as unreservedly as the rest of the canon is a moot point.
Even in such a perfectly paced and coloured interpretation as this, the last two movements seem to lack sure direction and expressive concentration. But if anyone could sell the symphony it would be Chailly and his
This was quite simply one of the finest interpretations imaginable. The first movement, extraordinary even by Mahler's standards for its timbral invention and all- embracing harmonic processes, was marvellous in its fire and clarity, the spectral scherzo eerily characterised. The virtuosity was evident, yet always served the symphony's expressive world.
Will explain back story to fictional kingdom Westeros
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 'Nasa Confirms Six Days of Darkness in December': No, they don't - it's a hoax
- 2 Canadian actor punched in face after 'Islamophobia' experiment goes wrong in wake of Ottawa shooting
- 3 Woman blinded as a child can see again after hitting her head on a coffee table
- 4 Paul Hollywood: Police asked if I wanted them to arrest Mary Berry for vandalism after she 'defaced' my car
- 5 If you think Russell Brand’s new book is confused, you should read what his critics have to say about it
JK Rowling's Harry Potter Halloween stories: Dolores Umbridge was based on real person she 'disliked intensely'
This is what a film sex scene actually looks like on set (mostly awkward)
Cumberbacklash: Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange riles Marvel fans
Best horror films of all time
Downton Abbey season 5 episode 6 - review: Thomas and Lady Edith show sad signs of the times
Pope Francis declares evolution and Big Bang theory are real and God is not 'a magician with a magic wand'
Huge surge in Ukip support after EU funding row, according to new poll
Ukip ‘exploiting grooming scandal’ to secure party’s first police chief
Nigel Farage: 'There’s nothing wrong with white people blacking up'
Maureen Lipman says 'she can't vote Labour while Ed Miliband is leader'
Muslims, immigration and teenage pregnancy: British people are ignorant about almost everything