Edinburgh International Festival 2013 (8): Mark Minkowski’s Revelatory Way with Schubert

15/08/2013

EIF Logo

 

 

 

 Edinburgh International Festival 2013 (8) – Schubert, Les Musiciens du LouvreLes Musiciens du Louvre Grenoble, Mark Minkowski (conductor) Usher Hall, 14.8.2013 (SRT)

Schubert: Symphony No. 1 in D
Symphony No. 5 in B flat
Symphony No. 7 in B minor, “Unfinished”

I loved Mark Minkowski’s set of the Schubert symphonies when it was released last year, so I was particularly looking forward to their pair of Edinburgh concerts. In most respects I wasn’t disappointed. As with the discs, Minkowski and his band create a sound world that, to quote Lynton Crosby’s advice to the British Tory party, gets the barnacles off the boat. His sound for Schubert is fresh, lean and scrubbed down, revealing new things without any loss of beauty. The period instruments sound superb but never raw or abrasive, evidenced by the delightful first theme of the Fifth Symphony or, even more so, the sublime main theme of the Andante. Minkowski’s speeds tend to the fast side, but not overly so, so that the bustling, open textures of the First Symphony sound superb, and the grandeur of the big C major chords is in no way diminished. Furthermore, he has a wry sense of fun with the grace notes in the First’s finale, and he isn’t above throwing in a cheeky pause, as in the finale of the Fifth.

It’s in the tragic world of the Unfinished that the orchestral sound really comes into its own, with the plangent oboe solo, the lonely clarinet at the outset of the Andante’s second subject, or the cries from the horns and violas that could be stabs of pain. I wanted a bit more dramatic contrast, though. Minkowski had fortes and pianos, but not too much of either and he tended to steer a fairly safe path between the two, which sounded a bit homogenous and not risky enough. Bizarrely, there were a couple of occasions where he tried to quieten the orchestra but they didn’t seem to want to follow him. The period winds lacked the final edge of precision, too. This team is back tomorrow night for No. 3 and No. 8 (or should that be No. 9?), the “Great” C major. That’ll be an interesting test.

The Edinburgh International Festival runs until Sunday 1st September at a range of venues across the city. A selection of performances will be reviewed in these pages. For full details go to www.eif.co.uk

Simon Thompson

For Part 2 of this series see Schubert Symphonies (2)

Comments

Comments are closed.

Recent Reviews

Season Previews

__________________________________
  • NEW! Lyric Opera of Chicago’s 2020 Ring Cycles __________________________________
  • NEW! Roman River 2019 Festival __________________________________
  • NEW! Ex Cathedra’s 50th Anniversary Season in 2019-20 __________________________________
  • NEW! Geneva Grand Théâtre in 2019-20 __________________________________
  • UPDATED! 2019-20 at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden __________________________________
  • NEW! Bregenz Festival 17 July – 18 August 2019 __________________________________
  • NEW! City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra in 2019-20 __________________________________
  • NEW! Musikfest Berlin 2019 from 30 August to 19 September __________________________________
  • NEW! 2019 BBC Proms 19 July – 14 September __________________________________
  • NEW! Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich in 2019-20 __________________________________
  • NEW! Zurich Opera House in 2019-20 __________________________________
  • NEW! English National Opera in 2019-2020 __________________________________
  • NEW! Adrian Partington Introduces the 2019 Three Choirs Festival in Conversation with John Quinn __________________________________
  • NEW! ENB in 2019-2020 and Updates on their New London City Island Home __________________________________
  • NEW! Classical Music and Other Events at the Southbank Centre in 2019-20 __________________________________
  • UPDATED! Cleveland Orchestra in 2019-20 __________________________________
  • NEW! Classical Music at the Barbican in 2019-20 __________________________________
  • Subscribe to Review Summary Newsletter

    Reviews by Reviewer

    News and Featured Articles

    __________________________________
  • NEW! CHORUS MASTER STEPHEN DOUGHTY IN CONVERSATION WITH ROBERT BEATTIE __________________________________
  • NEW! Ron Howard’s Pavarotti in Cinemas 13 July (Preview) and Nationwide (15 July) __________________________________
  • NEW! MULTI-FACETED MUSICIAN JOY LISNEY IN CONVERSATION WITH ROBERT BEATTIE __________________________________
  • NEW! ‘MUSICAL MAGIC’: AN INTERVIEW WITH VIOLINIST HENNING KRAGGERUD __________________________________
  • NEW! English National Ballet Announces Winners of Emerging Dancer 2019 __________________________________
  • NEW! CONDUCTOR THOMAS SANDERLING IN CONVERSATION WITH GREGOR TASSIE __________________________________
  • NEW! Chelsea Opera Group Perform Anton Rubinstein’s The Demon on 30 June __________________________________
  • NEW! In August Fulham Opera’s Most Ambitious Project to Date – Die Meistersinger Von Nürnberg __________________________________
  • R.I.P. IN MEMORIAM ANDRÉ PREVIN (1929-2019) __________________________________
  • NEW! CHRISTOPHE ROUSSET IN CONVERSATION WITH COLIN CLARKE __________________________________
  • CONDUCTOR ÁDÁM FISCHER IN CONVERSATION WITH MICHAEL COOKSON __________________________________
  • MAESTRO RICCARDO FRIZZA IN CONVERSATION WITH MARGARIDA MOTA-BULL __________________________________
  • A Q&A WITH GERMAN SOPRANO PETRA LANG __________________________________
  • HOW TO CONTACT SEEN AND HEARD INTERNATIONAL __________________________________
  • Search S&H

    Archives by Week

    Archives by Month