Classical, Romantic, neo-classical, modern? One groped for a meaningful link behind the programming of Stravinsky, Lutoslawski, Wagner and Mozart in Prom 45. In any case, the Orchestra of St Luke's and Donald Runnicles having been unable to fly from New York, it fell to the City of London Sinfonia and Paul Daniel to take on the bill.
Which they did with spirit, if occasionally less than immaculate precision. Admittedly, the sprightly opening movement of Stravinsky's Dumbarton Oaks is full of rhythmic traps. But one missed a little clipped Stravinskian articulation throughout.
Far more successful was Lutoslawski's Paroles tissées, setting "woven words" by the poet Jean-François Chabrun against exquisitely sensitised textures of strings, harp, piano and percussion. The vocal writing, tailor-made to the mannerisms of Sir Peter Pears, who commissioned it in 1965, was delivered by Ian Bostridge, who has his own mannerisms but whose voice has acquired a new power of projection lately. A transfixing 16 minutes.
After this, Wagner's Siegfried Idyll sounded a little cosily mundane at first, though Daniel unfolded its overall span effectively enough, and there were lovely sounds from Stephen Stirling's first horn. And so to Mozart's Jupiter Symphony, in a semi-"authentic" reading with fastish tempos, particularly in the Andante, but generating in the contrapuntal intricacies of the finale the authentic joy it will retain for all time.
Mozart, at least, carried over into the late-night Prom 46: a beautifully balanced sequence of his solo piano music chosen by Andras Schiff and delivered with all his usual lucidity and concentration. If the purpose was to show how, even in a selection mainly restricted to the key of A, Mozart could somehow convey a vast range of feeling from tragic pathos to uproarious high spirits, it was profoundly successful.
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