Unlike some of Maderna's music, Grande Aulodia retains a freshness and spontaneity of invention that has outlasted the fashions of two or three decades ago. It pits two eloquent, intricate wind solos, here played with beauty and assurance by the oboist Maurice Bourgue and the RCO's principal flautist, Paul Verhey, against a modestly rearranged orchestra. The three separate string groups resounded well in the Albert Hall, even though what they played was an apparent harmonic muddle. Matters clarified with some delightful bird-like solos against orchestral rejoinders and asides, and then through ever more luxuriant and lingering lines above a spreading, fading haze of strings.
As the Webern had shown, flexibly shaped by Riccardo Chailly, the RCO's distinction lies not only in skilful balance and detail, but in a breadth and patience of manner that London orchestras do not possess - and probably never will, however 'world-class' they try to become, simply because the quality rests in a more secure and rooted cultural tradition. What price a residency that changes national character?Reuse content