RSNO Find its Form with Oundjian

08/02/2014

 Wagner, Mozart, Walton: Richard Goode (piano), Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Peter Oundjian (conductor), Usher Hall, Edinburgh, 7.2.2014 (SRT)

Wagner:   Tannhäuser overture
Mozart:     Piano Concerto No. 17
Walton:    Symphony No. 1

 

After a fairly so-so performance of Brahms’ First Piano Concerto last week, the RSNO found its form much more securely in tonight’s varied programme.  Importantly, the gleaming clarity that characterises their sound at its best was back on prominent show, thanks, perhaps, to the fact that they were playing under their music director.  The sheen on the brass, in particular, was not only powerful but bursting with colour.  Perhaps that power became a little too much in Walton’s First Symphony.  It’s never a symphony I’ve been particularly fond of (for me, though its impact can be thrilling, it relies a little too much on fifth gear), and there were times when the visceral impact of the brass climaxes drowned out much of the string figuration, a balance problem that you hope would have been sorted out in rehearsal.  That’s not to underline the vigour with which Oundjian organised and built all the long-worked climaxes, but my favourite passage was the dialogue for winds at the start of the slow movement, remarkable in its sense of interplay and the most delicately balanced part of the symphony.

The balance was just right in the Tannhäuser overture.  Both the outer sections moved with steadiness of purpose, without ever plodding, and the Venusberg was sprightly and ardent at the same time.  The trombones, in particular, glowed at their big statements of the pilgrims’ theme.  Equally successful, but entirely different, was the chamber-like sonority that accompanies Mozart’s G major Concerto.  It was the delicacy of the playing that I enjoyed the most, the strings seeming almost to tickle each of Mozart’s playful phrases in the outer movement, but capped by a fabulous choir of winds at the centre of the sound.  Goode played with his trademark sense of grace and flair (he is so good at these middle piano concertos!) and with a bit of singing along with the cadenzas.  You can’t avoid that with this pianist, but at least it marks his engagement with what he plays.

Simon Thompson

 

Print Friendly

Comments

Comments are closed.

Recent Reviews

Facebook-button-1

Season Previews

__________________________________
  • NEW! The Piccadilly Chamber Music Series in 2018 __________________________________
  • NEW! Opera and More in Buenos Aires in 2018 __________________________________
  • NEW! Gloucester Choral Society’s Hubert Parry’s Centenary Celebrations in May 2018 __________________________________
  • NEW! Spend a Penny for Grange Park Opera’s Lavatorium Rotundum __________________________________
  • NEW! Bampton Classical Opera in 2018 __________________________________
  • NEW! The 2018 Lucerne Summer Festival __________________________________
  • NEW! Leeds Lieder’s Forthcoming Schubert Song Series in Leeds and Sheffield __________________________________
  • UPDATED! English National Ballet’s 2017 – 2018 Season __________________________________
  • NEW! Contemporary Music from Manchester’s Psappha in 2017-18 __________________________________
  • UPDATED! I Musicanti’s Alexandra and the Russians at St Johns Smith Square in 2018 __________________________________
  • NEW! Anna Netrebko and Yusif Eyvazov’s Return to London in May 2018 __________________________________
  • NEW! St John’s Smith Square announces its 2017/18 Season __________________________________
  • NEW! The Pierre Boulez Saal’s 2017/18 Season in Berlin __________________________________
  • UPDATED! The Glyndebourne Opera Cup and Glyndebourne in 2018 __________________________________
  • NEW! The City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra’s 2017/18 Season __________________________________
  • UPDATED! English National Opera’s 2017/18 Season __________________________________
  • NEW! The Royal Opera House Announces its 2017/18 Season __________________________________
  • Subscribe to Review Summary Newsletter

    Reviews by Reviewer

    News and Featured Articles

    __________________________________
  • UPDATED! SOME OF OUR REVIEWERS CHOOSE THEIR ‘BEST OF 2017’ __________________________________
  • NEW! OMER MEIR WELLBER IN CONVERSATION WITH MICHAEL COOKSON __________________________________
  • NEW! GREGOR TASSIE IN CONVERSATION WITH VALENTINA LISITSA __________________________________
  • NEW! Dénes Várjon Talks to Sebastian Smallshaw About Budapest’s Kamara.hu __________________________________
  • R.I.P. IN MEMORIAM – DMITRI HVOROSTOVSKY (1962-2017) __________________________________
  • NEW! Ann Murray’s Masterclass at the V&A Part of Opera: Passion, Power and Politics __________________________________
  • UPDATED! Carly Paoli is ‘Singing My Dreams’ at the Cadogan Hall in February 2018 __________________________________
  • NEW! A Composer Speaks Up for the Environment: An Interview with Margaret Brouwer __________________________________
  • UPDATED! Russian Ballet Icons Gala at the London Coliseum on 25 February __________________________________
  • NEW! Twelve Years of Celebrating Malcolm Arnold in Northampton __________________________________
  • NEW! What is the Critic’s Job? A Review of A. O. Scott’s Recent Book __________________________________
  • NEW! English Music Festival in Yorkshire Lifts the Lid Off an English Treasury __________________________________
  • NEW! A FULLY STAGED PILGRIM’S PROGRESS IN ORLEANS, MA __________________________________
  • NEW! JIŘÍ BĔLOHLÁVEK (1946-2017) AND THE CZECH CONDUCTING LEGACY __________________________________
  • Archives by Week

    Archives by Month

    Search S&H