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

Facebook button-1

Season Previews

__________________________________
  • NEW! English National Opera Have Announced the Programme for the 2015/16 Season __________________________________
  • NEW! Preview: Alston at Home at The Place, London __________________________________
  • NEW! The 2015/16 Royal Opera House Season Has Been Announced __________________________________
  • NEW! Ukraine: «Odessa Classics» European Music Festival, 10. – 14.6.2015 in Odessa __________________________________
  • NEW! The Lichfield Festival 2015: A Preview __________________________________
  • NEW! The Three Choirs Festival 2015: A Preview __________________________________
  •  NEW! LUCERNE FESTIVAL in Summer – An Overview __________________________________
  • NEW! Zurich Opera Season 2015/2016 Highlights __________________________________
  • NEW! The Neue Oper Wien’s New Productions for 2015 (SS) __________________________________
  • NEW! Preview: Cheltenham Festival Offers an Eclectic Mix of Music __________________________________
  • NEW! Preview: Two Productions and a Young Singers’ Competition from Bampton Classical Opera __________________________________
  • NEW! Preview: Chipping Campden Prepares for its Musical Spring __________________________________
  • NEW! Garsington Opera Teams Up with Royal Shakespeare Theatre for its 2015 Season __________________________________
  • NEW! Two Berliner Philharmoniker Concerts to be Streamed Live in European Cinemas __________________________________
  • Subscribe to Daily Review Summary

    *If more than 4 reviews posted for day
    Name
    Email *

    Geoffrey Newman Interviews GOERNER-1

    News and Featured Articles

    __________________________________
  • NEW! Backstage Magic Tricks at LA Opera’s The Marriage of Figaro __________________________________
  • Baroque and Beyond: The French Spirit of Pianist Alexandre Tharaud __________________________________
  • New Director For Teatro Colón (JSJ) __________________________________
  • Sensitivity And Engagement: The World Of Tasmin Little __________________________________
  • Beat Furrer and Grigory Sokolov Named Latest Honorary Members of the Wiener Konzerthaus Society __________________________________
  • Dame Fanny Waterman to Step Down from Leeds International Piano Competition after 2015 Competition __________________________________
  • Nine First-Time Winners Revealed at the British Composer Awards 2014 __________________________________
  • Dancers in the Making. John O’Dwyer Visits the English National Ballet School __________________________________
  • Arnaldo Cohen in Conversation with Geoffrey Newman __________________________________
  • Top 10 Reviewed Cities

    Reviews by Reviewer

    Monthly Archive