Two years ago, his Symphony held a Prom audience transfixed with gloom. His Violin Concerto No 2, given its British premiere on Monday, gets in to the same subterrain of the soul, with a brooding slow opening and an even slower movement of positively ecstatic melancholy to follow, though its own character is quite distinct.
Much stems from the first musical image, murky overlapping descents with the violin soaring freely above. What follows has a more expansive and frankly emotional temper than the numbed stasis at the heart of the symphony, and wide-spanning Mahlerian lines open windows on to an all-too- brief melodic beauty. Later, the music surges upwards. The finale, a short and surreal acceleration of what has gone before - which almost swamps a hyperactive soloist - inevitably collapses again.
Rebecca Hirsch played the piece with alarming intensity. She was expressively supported by the orchestra, which had prefaced it with a calm and controlled performance of the Tippett Concerto for Orchestra, presenting what used to seem an edgy reaching-out of musical language very much as an extension of the composer's well-assured grasp.Reuse content