Editor: Marc Bridle
Len Mullenger: Len@musicweb-international.com
S & H Concert Review
Borodin, Tchaikovsky, , Nicola Loud (violin),
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Matthias Bamert, Royal Festival Hall, 7.30pm,
1st June 2002 (SHJ)
The Queen’s Jubilee prom at Buckingham Palace was not
the only sell-out classical concert in London last Saturday, but it
must have proved far more satisfactory than the one taking place at
the Royal Festival Hall. The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra’s rendition
of Borodin’s Polovtsian Dances was occasionally vibrant, but
– with the exception of some exceptionally well-crafted wind solos –
generally lacked direction and vigour.
Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto suffered similarly;
violinist Nicola Loud’s interpretation was noticeably undaring and,
despite some interesting musical details, her performance was tonally
one-dimensional. Loud has real musical empathy with Tchaikovsky’s sonorous
melodic writing, but this performance was marred by technical and intonational
insecurities; perhaps the limp and uninspired orchestral accompaniment
was a distraction. An unrhythmic Bach encore followed.
Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No.6, "Pathetique"
began with yet more tired orchestral playing, the thin string sound
at odds with the lush woodwind textures. Finally, in the third and fourth
movements of the symphony, the fruits of Tchaikovsky’s melodic genius
lifted the orchestral to a new level (who can fail to be moved by such
melodic beauty?), and the musicians at last began to stir. More convincing
thematic characterisation evolved into genuine impassioned enthusiasm,
and the audience went home happy.
Simon Hewitt Jones
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