Concertgebouw / Chailly Barbican, London
Friday 31 March 1995
Still, come the scene-change, Chailly reappeared with a diminutive figure whose sparkling demeanour suggested a truant schoolgirl. Maria Joo Pires is a pianist's pianist whose wide keyboard vocabulary accommodates a generous expressive range. And of course Beethoven's Third Concerto is a minefield of potential pitfalls, especially in matters of balance and dialogue between soloist and orchestra. But this performance worked very well. Chailly drove a warm, fairly animated opening tutti, while Pires responded with impressive confidence and clean, forceful fingerwork. The cadenza too (Beethoven's own) boasted a wide catalogue of pianistic colours, and that magical moment when quiet string chords usher in the orchestra's return could hardly have been more sensitively handled. This and similar passages suggested the intimacy of chamber music, and if the closing Rondo went well (with plenty of playful badinage between pianist and orchestra), the Largo was something special.
Then came Ein Heldenleben, that maddeningly egocentric blend of genius and banality which Strauss dedicated to Mengelberg and the Concertgebouw. If Tuesday's performance is anything to go by, Chailly hasn't much to tell us about Strauss's hero that we don't already know. The opening "Hero" was properly sonorous (with marvellous lower strings), while the orchestral build-up towards "The Hero's Battlefield" gathered considerable momentum, but the climb-down lacked pathos and the close was a little hurried. Judged overall, it was a rousing, superficially impressive display. Yet I couldn't escape the suspicion that Chailly's heart wasn't in it.
Listen to his collaboration with Naughty Boymusic
Film review Michael Glatze biopic isn't about a self-hating gay man gone straight
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Replica Back to the Future Hoverboard released
- 2 Katie Hopkins attacked me on Twitter — so I reported her to the police for inciting racial hatred
- 3 Tidal: Jay Z's Spotify rival streaming service criticised for making wealthy artists even richer
- 4 Brixton squat flats now costing up to £3k per month show how out of control rent is in London
- 5 A new (old) cure for MRSA? Revolting recipe from the Dark Ages may be key to defeat infection
Zayn Malik releases first solo song 'I Won't Mind' in 'Zaughty' collaboration with Naughty Boy
Tidal launch: The most pretentious lines from Alicia Keys' valedictory speech
Poldark review: Demelza’s insouciance is almost as impressive as Ross’ pecs
Tidal: Jay Z's Spotify rival streaming service criticised for making wealthy artists even richer
James May hints he will not continue on Top Gear without Jeremy Clarkson
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
Street preacher quoting from the Bible fined for calling homosexuality an 'abomination'
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
Woman filmed launching racist tirade against men on the Tube for speaking in 'own lingo'
The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
David Cameron calls Labour 'hopeless, sneering socialists' while announcing 7-day NHS plans