RSNO Find its Form with Oundjian

08/02/2014

United KingdomUnited Kingdom 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

Season Previews

__________________________________
  • NEW! The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra celebrates 70 years of excellence __________________________________
  • NEW! SJSS announces Principal Sound Festival – A celebration of the music of Morton Feldman. 1- 4 April __________________________________
  • NEW! British Musical Stars are Heading for Garsington Opera Festival 2016 __________________________________
  • NEW! The Australian Ballet at London Coliseum in 2016 __________________________________
  • NEW! Wagner’s epic Ring conditioned with comedy and shrunk to one evening as The Rinse Cycle __________________________________
  • NEW! The Barbican’s Artist Spotlight in 2015/16 is on Celebrated Soprano Renée Fleming __________________________________
  • NEW! Welsh National Opera Brings a Seasonal Operatic Treat to the Stage __________________________________
  • NEW!  Ambition And Modern For Teatro Colón 2016 Season (JSJ) __________________________________
  • NEW! The Salzburg Festival 2016 Unveiled __________________________________
  • NEW! 2016 UK Tour Dates for Carlos Acosta’s A Classical Farewell __________________________________
  • NEW! Preview Lucerne Festival 2016 __________________________________
  • Subscribe to Review Summary Newsletter

    News and Featured Articles

    __________________________________
  • NEW! Entering the Eclectic Universe of Pianist Stephen Hough __________________________________
  • NEW! Tamara Rojo, Artistic Director of ENB, Awarded a CBE for her Services to Ballet __________________________________
  • NEW! Music Theatre Wales Celebrates as Artistic Directors are Awarded MBEs __________________________________
  • NEW! From Havana, a Snapshot of Cuban Music __________________________________
  • NEW! Reflections on the 2015 Chopin Competition  __________________________________
  • NEW! The Pianist of Willesden Lane to Receive UK Première __________________________________
  • NEW! ‘Between Two Worlds’: An Interview With Violinist Tianwa Yang __________________________________
  • NEW! Kasper Holten, Director of Opera at The Royal Opera House, to Leave in March 2017 __________________________________
  • NEW! Three Choirs Festival Tercentenary Concludes at Buckingham Palace __________________________________
  • Reviews by Reviewer

    Monhtly Archives

    Search S&H