Live review Dvorak Symphonies: LPO; Philharmonia RFH, London
'Tetzlaff and Welser-Most transformed a war-horse into a thoroughbred'
Friday 01 March 1996
OK, we know that speed isn't everything, but in the case of Beethoven's Violin Concerto, faster tempos helped Christian Tetzlaff and Welser-Most transform a dignified war-horse into a high-performance thoroughbred. Tetzlaff spun a bright thread of tone that suggested Gidon Kremer with sang-froid. His soft playing was remarkable and lost nothing in terms of colour or substance, even when tapered to a whisper. He also performed a lively transcription (his own) of the extended "fiddle'n'timps" cadenza that Beethoven originally wrote for his piano version of the Concerto. Everything shone afresh and when it came to the dancing Rondo, the message really hit home: Beethoven's Violin Concerto is a sunny, high-spirited dialogue and light years removed from the moss-covered monolith that certain more feted players inflict on us. Audience response made an encore inevitable. Tetzlaff treated us to a wistful account of the Largo from Bach's third solo Sonata.
Welser-Most's Dvorak No 7 was similarly invigorating. Again, the argument had real style, especially in the first movement, where the line habitually changed colour but the pulse never faltered. The poco adagio was viewed very much "of a piece", while the last two movements were favoured with lilting rubato. It was both more polished and rather more confident than the reading of the Eighth Symphony that Nicholas Michalakis had given with the Philharmonia the night before - though that too showed imagination. True, there were minor shortcomings: the choral-like introduction was a little prosaic, parts of the finale were too fast for comfort and there was a distracting hiatus prior to the third movement's Trio section. But the Adagio was beautifully handled - not least the expressive swerve of the opening bars and the deathly calm as the music suddenly darkens half- way through and the horn announces a sinister transformation of the principal theme.
First impressions of Michalakis suggest modesty and a certain impatience to get things going. His concert opened with an athletic rendition of Strauss's Don Juan, healthy of countenance if momentarily fazed during the love music. Next, he led a sympathetic accompaniment for Nikolai Demidenko's rather belligerent account of the Schumann Concerto, a pernickety, impulsive affair with loud passage-work and a brittle tone. The Dvorak No 8, however, was interesting enough to register Michalakis among the current lists of talented up-and-comers.
Filming to begin on two new series due to be aired on Dave from next year
TVBBC hopes latest Danish import will spell success
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Indonesia executions: Death row British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford will refuse to wear a blindfold when she faces firing squad
- 2 The man who filmed the Freddie Gray video has been arrested at gunpoint
- 3 How the language you speak changes your view of the world
- 4 The top 50 cities for young people to live in
- 5 Uploading pictures to find out how old you are gives Microsoft the right to post them wherever they want
The C-Word - review: Sheridan Smith shines in a warm, honest adaptation of Lisa Lynch's book about living with cancer
X-Men Apocalypse: First look at Jubilee and Jean Grey played by Game of Thrones star Sophie Turner
American Horror Story: Hotel Angela Bassett set to make 'lots of trouble' with Lady Gaga in season 5
Game of Thrones season 5 episode 4 - review: Sansa is in danger of becoming another footnote in Westeros' bloody history
Adam Sandler's The Ridiculous Six: Make-up 'used to darken skin of actors to make them look Native American'
Over 50,000 families shipped out of London boroughs in the past three years due to welfare cuts and soaring rents
EU asylum policy is 'a direct threat to our civilisation', says Nigel Farage
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: SNP and its activists 'openly racist' towards the English, Farage says
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
Schools forced to act as 'miniature welfare states' with teachers buying underwear and even haircuts for poor pupils