RSNO Find its Form with Oundjian

February 8, 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

favorite-1

Season Previews

__________________________________
  • NEW! 8th Schloss Laudon Kammermusikfestival to Illuminate More Corners of the 20th Century Quartet Repertoire (January 20, 2015) __________________________________
  •  NEW! Royal Opera House Live Cinema Season 2014/15 Continues: Romance And Revolution: Andrea Chénier (January 17, 2015) __________________________________
  • NEW! Preview: Resolution! Dance Showcase at the Place, London (January 11, 2015) __________________________________
  • NEW! Preview: London International Mime Festival January 2015 (January 8, 2015) __________________________________
  • NEW! ‘Bayreuth in Buenos Aires’ And More in Interesting Teatro Colón 2015 Season (January 4, 2015) __________________________________
  • Buenos Aires Independents’ 2015 Season – Some Gems To Come (November 25, 2014) __________________________________
  • Artists from China, Estonia and Holland head for 2015 Vale of Glamorgan Festival of Music (November 19, 2014) __________________________________
  • Lucerne Festival Preview 2015 (November 6, 2014) __________________________________
  • Variety and Distinction in Vancouver’s 2014-2015 Concert Season (August 10, 2014) __________________________________
  • Cincinnati Offers Sparkling 2014-2015 Season (August 7, 2014) __________________________________
  • Exciting and Varied Programme Announced for Birmingham International Concert Series 2014/15 (May 19, 2014) __________________________________
  • Reviews by Reviewer

    Monthly Archive

    News and Featured Articles

    __________________________________
  • NEW! Beat Furrer and Grigory Sokolov Named Latest Honorary Members of the Wiener Konzerthaus Society (December 18, 2014) __________________________________
  • Dame Fanny Waterman to Step Down from Leeds International Piano Competition after 2015 Competition (December 16, 2014) __________________________________
  • Nine First-Time Winners Revealed at the British Composer Awards 2014 (December 11, 2014) __________________________________
  • Dancers in the Making. John O’Dwyer Visits the English National Ballet School (December 10, 2014) __________________________________
  • Arnaldo Cohen in Conversation with Geoffrey Newman (December 9, 2014) __________________________________
  • National Centre for Early Music Announces Its Young Composers Award 2015 (November 2, 2014) __________________________________
  • Concertmaster Dale Barltrop in Conversation with Geoffrey Newman (October 22, 2014) __________________________________
  • Remembering Lyndon Jenkins (1938-2014): A Leading Player on the Concert Scene (September 26, 2014) __________________________________
  • Essex Based Opera Group Brings Opera to Saffron Hall In Walden for the First Time (August 26, 2014) __________________________________
  • Top 10 Reviewed Cities