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! I Musicanti’s ‘Alexandra and the Russians’ at St Johns Smith Square, 2017-18 __________________________________
  • NEW! The 2017 Oxford Lieder Festival – The Last of the Romantics __________________________________
  • NEW! Roman River Music’s Festival ’17 in Essex __________________________________
  • 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 __________________________________
  • NEW! Birmingham and Beyond: Ex Cathedra in 2017/18 __________________________________
  • NEW! 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 __________________________________
  • NEW! The Cleveland Orchestra in 2017-18 __________________________________
  • NEW! Zurich Opera Announces its 2017/2018 Season __________________________________
  • NEW! English National Ballet’s 2017 – 2018 Autumn/Winter Season __________________________________
  • Subscribe to Review Summary Newsletter

    Reviews by Reviewer

    News and Featured Articles

    __________________________________
  • NEW! Katie Lowe Wins the 2017 Elizabeth Connell Prize __________________________________
  • NEW! Opportunity for a Rare Composition Masterclass with Gavin Bryars in April 2018 __________________________________
  • NEW! HOW TO CONTACT SEEN AND HEARD INTERNATIONAL __________________________________
  • NEW! ITINÉRAIRE BAROQUE 2017: TON KOOPMAN TALKS TO COLIN CLARKE __________________________________
  • NEW! The Royal Opera House in Mumbai is Restored to its Former Glory __________________________________
  • NEW! iSING! – International Young Artists Festival in Suzhou, China __________________________________
  • NEW! A Riveting Kokoschka’s Doll from Sir John Tomlinson and Counterpoise __________________________________
  • NEW! The National Theatre Dares You to Engage with This Show __________________________________
  • NEW! ANGELA BROWNRIDGE IN CONVERSATION WITH ROBERT BEATTIE __________________________________
  • NEW! THE GREAT CANADIAN ARTISTS: AN INTERVIEW WITH VIOLINIST JAMES EHNES __________________________________
  • NEW! PIANIST KIRILL GERSTEIN IN CONVERSATION WITH GEOFFREY NEWMAN __________________________________
  • Archives by Week

    Archives by Month

    Search S&H