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.
Review: One Direction, Fourmusic
Review: The World of Ice and Firebooks
Film More romcom than S&M
Review: The Imitation Gamefilm
Comedy...to show her mastectomy scars
TVNetflix gets cryptic
TV review A moving film showing kids too busy to enjoy their youth
Books Not even a Man Booker prize could save Richard Flanagan from a nomination
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 This is what the one in ten British men who pay for sex need to know
- 2 Lee Evans announces retirement from comedy on The Jonathan Ross Show
- 3 These grandmas smoking weed for the first time are wonderful
- 4 Woman opens professional cuddling shop – gets 10,000 customers in first week
Lee Evans announces retirement from comedy on The Jonathan Ross Show
Willow and Jaden Smith talk duality of apples, holographic realities and the melancholia of the ocean in incredible New York Times interview
Winnie the Pooh banned from Polish playground for being an 'inappropriate hermaphrodite'
I'm A Celebrity 2014: Jake Quickenden and Edwina Currie confirmed to enter jungle
Drawn Blank: Bob Dylan exhibition showcases the musician's bold and vibrant paintings
'Muslims pre-date Columbus in discovering America,' says Turkish president Erdogan
France 'blocks' Russian sailors from boarding a warship
Former Tory PM Sir John Major says 'we would not have an NHS without migrants'
G20 summit: David Cameron warns Vladimir Putin that Russia's relationship with the West is at a 'fork in the road' over Ukraine
Myleene Klass: Ed Miliband 'strikes back' by comparing UK's need for Labour's mansion tax to Hear'Say track
Coalition government has 'shifted money from poorest to better-off' through welfare cuts and tax reductions, study claims