Editor: Marc Bridle

 

Webmaster: Len Mullenger

 

 

                    

Google

WWW MusicWeb


Search Music Web with FreeFind




Any Review or Article


 

Seen and Heard Concert Review

 

Mozart and Dvořák Chamber Orchestra of Europe/Mitsuko Uchida (piano/director); Alexander Janiczek (violin/director), RFH, Wednesday, October 13th, 2004 (CC)

 

Mitsuko Uchida is engaged in a project to direct all the Mozart piano concertos with the Cleveland Orchestra. Seeing and hearing her in the role of director (here with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe) is a new experience for this reviewer, though … and what a joy it was.

 

The programme book-ended Dvořák’s Czech Suite with two Mozart concertos, Nos. 6 and 25. There was an extra item, though, unannounced and to a captive audience. Michael Lynch, Chief Executive of the SBC, painfully over-amplified, begged for money for renovation. Unexpected, it disrupted the sweet air of anticipation magnificently, as well as knocking a few high frequencies off my hearing. It was, in effect, aggressive begging in a suit.

 

Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 6 in B flat, K238 is of course only the second actually by Mozart (the first four are arrangements). It was a privilege to hear it in such expert hands. Uchida directed the orchestral exposition floridly and expressively (standing). When it came to the piano’s entrance, as so often when the soloist directs, it took a while for her to find the right balance – her left hand seemed too loud. Yet straight away an intimate sense of dialogue existed between piano and chamber orchestra. Uchida’s gestures were graceful and, most importantly, communicative. Nothing was superfluous. She brought out the dramatic in this early work as well its more the gentle flip side. The cadenza was in fact hyper-sensitive, yet still managed to contain elements of the expected display.

 

The COE seemed not only on her wavelength, but determined to give their very best. The surprisingly sonorous violins of the Andante un poco adagio were actually acting as a foil for the gentle, proto-Elvira Madigan woodwind. Uchida herself has always excelled in Mozart concerto slow movements, and indeed here she was absolutely hypnotic. Perhaps the finale could have exuded more fun, though. Uchida elected instead to embark on a surprisingly explosive course that included that crystalline articulation so typical of this pianist. The cadenza was a thing of wonder, with real glitter about it. How wonderful to hear an early Mozart concerto accorded such deep respect from its interpreters.

 

The Czech Suite, Op. 39/B93 in D of Antonín Dvořák dates from 1879. It would perhaps have been interesting to see Uchida try to conduct it (when Maurizio Pollini toured with the English Chamber Orchestra – early 1980s, I think – he put Mozart’s 34th symphony in between the 14th and 17th piano concertos and conducted the symphony himself). As it was, it was directed from the violin by Alexander Janiczek (himself part-Czech). This was a lovely performance, characterised by an easy-going countenance. The opening movement (of five), a Pastorale, was nearly a joy (only some perhaps inevitable ragged ensemble detracted). Particularly attractive was the warm, Central-European sound of the oboe.

 

This is a charming work, and it was clear the members of the COE were thoroughly enjoying themselves (a particularly mobile, and sonically expressive, first clarinettist seemed to be having a ball). If there could have been more charm to contrast with the robust fortes in the Polka and an extra tad of freshness to the Sousedská (a type of Minuet), the perky, nicely sprung Furiant left a decidedly warm feeling. Life-enhancing.

 

Mozart’s 25th Concerto is perhaps his most overtly celebrational (cast in that composer’s favourite key for that mood, also – C major). But there are undercurrents present, too, and Uchida ensured that minor-key colourings were given fullest due. They were even more effective because Uchida resisted the temptation to slow down for them, the shading coming internally instead. As far as her playing goes, there was the impression that Uchida was regularly marking the first beat of the bar more than she would if there was a conductor to help her; and the ‘big’ piano chords lost some of their power simply because of the positioning of the piano and the loss of the lid (to direct the sound towards the audience). The cadenza here was not as accurate as one has come to expect from this pianist.

 

The Andante was pure bliss, however, whether one considers the wind solos or the ‘Ur-Uchida-esque’ playing. The finale smiled contentedly, full of brilliant fingerwork (and how Uchida must have enjoyed teasing the audience with some of her phrasing!) Here there was a superb sense of rightness about it all, making the exuberant close seem entirely fitting.

 

Colin Clarke

 

Uchida repeats the concertos in Severance Hall on Thursday 28th October with the Cleveland Orchestra, sandwiching this time Kirchner’s ‘Music for 12’. Please see Opus 1 Classical for full concert details.



Back to the Top     Back to the Index Page


 





   

 

 

 

MusicWeb - The International Web Site Founder: Len Mullenger [UK], Classical Editor: Rob Barnett [UK],  Regular Reviewers:   Steve Arloff [UK], Guy Aron [Australia], Tony Augarde [UK], Terry Barfoot [UK], Melinda Bargreen [USA], David J. Barker [Australia], Rob Barnett [UK], Nick Barnard [UK], Robert Beattie [UK], Dave Billinge [UK], Peter Bright [UK], Byzantion [UK], Colin Clarke [UK], Dominy Clements [Netherlands], Michael Cookson [UK], Hubert Culot [Belgium], Evan Dickerson [UK], Gavin Dixon [UK], Robert J. Farr [UK], Christopher Fifield [UK], Göran Forsling [Sweden], John France [UK], Patrick Gary [USA], Pierre Giroux [CAN], Paul C. Godfrey [UK], Michael Greenhalgh [UK], William Hedley [France], Gary Higginson [UK], Neil Horner [UK], Robert Hugill UK], David Jennings [UK], Bill Kenny [UK], William S Kreindler [USA], Ian Lace [UK], Em Marshall-Luck [UK], Oleg Ledeniov [USA]Rob Maynard [UK], David A McConnell [USA], Kirk McElhearn [France], Robert McKechnie [UK], Ralph Moore [RMo] [UK], Dan Morgan [UK], Margarida Mota-Bull [UK], Glyn Pursglove [UK], John Quinn [UK], Carla Rees [UK], Brian Reinhart [USA], Donald Satz [USA], Mark Sealey [USA], John Sheppard [UK], George Stacy, Kevin Sutton [USA], Bert Thompson [USA], Simon Thompson [UK], Zane Turner [Australia], Steve Vasta [UK], Johan van Veen [Netherlands], Raymond Walker [UK], Derek Warby [UK], Brian Wilson [UK], Jonathan Woolf [UK] Leslie Wright [USA]. A complete list of contributors can be seen here




EXPLORE MUSICWEB INTERNATIONAL

Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews

 

Discographies
   Composer
      Composer surveys
   National
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
.
Prepared by Michael Herman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

Interviews
With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site

Nostalgia

Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Comment
Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure

Announcements

 

Community
Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Reviewers
Past and present

Helpers invited!

Resources
How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips


Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Publishers
Other links
Newsgroups
Web News sites etc

PotPourri
A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Questionnaire    
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Dictionary
Magazines
Newsfeed  
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools

MusicWeb International thank Naxos for the no-strings use of their server to mount the website.