Concert Review

Dutilleux 'Tout un monde lointain…'. Beethoven Overture, Leonora No. 3. Prokofiev Symphony No. 5. LPO/Kent Nagano/Lynn Harrell (cello). RFH, 26 April 2000.

This was a wide-ranging programme. Beethoven's 'Leonora' Overture felt slightly distanced and veered too far away from Beethoven's Romantic vision - Kent Nagano almost reminded me of musical deconstruction 'a la Sinopoli' at some points!

Lynn Harrell excelled in Dutilleux's Cello Concerto, 'Tout un monde lointain...' (1970, commissioned by Rostropovich) and was well supported by and the orchestra.

Dutilleux takes as his starting point the illusive poetic world of Charles Baudelaire His scoring is incredibly evocative - just one example is the timbral interplay between timpani glissandi and cello pizzicato glissandi. Moment after moment of beautiful, thought-provoking sonorities seemed inevitably to follow one another within Dutilleux' carefully constructed schema - the composer himself cites Schoenberg and Berg as giving him 'something special' in his search for 'rare colours'. In the third movement, 'Houles' (Surges), Dutilleux refers unashamedly (and unforgettably) to Messiaen-like high wind sonorities, while in the last movement, 'Hymne', Nagano convincingly and delightfully brought out the dance elements. Dutilleux is well served by recordings - there are CDs by Harrell, Pergamenichikov and Rostropovich of this cello concerto.

Nagano inspired the LPO in the Prokofiev Fifth. Climaxes were relished and bass-laden harmonies brought a real potency to the dark overtones. Long, expressive paragraphs drew one into the perfectly-paced Andante. The scherzo was spiky, humorous and virtuosic, and the nightmarish, phantasmagorical middle section of the Adagio had the audience holding its collective breath. The finale's rhythms were infectiously sprung and accompaniments light and witty. A memorable experience.

Colin Clarke

Seen&Heard is part of Music on the Web(UK) Webmaster: Len Mullenger

Return to: Seen&Heard Index  

Return to: Music on the Web