Christian Thielemann Brings the Staatskapelle Dresden to the Proms

08/09/2016

Proms

Prom 71 – Mozart, Bruckner: Daniil Trifonov (piano); Staatskapelle Dresden/Christian Thielemann (conductor). Royal Albert Hall, London, 7.9.2016. (CC)

Gastspiel der Staatskapelle Dresden am 07.09.2016 bei den " BBC PROMS " in der Royal Albert Hall in London / Grossbritannien . Foto: Oliver Killig

Christian Thielemann conducts the Staatskapelle Dresden (c) Oliver Killig

Mozart – Piano Concerto No. 21 in C, K467 (1785)

Bruckner – Symphony No. 3 in D minor (1876/7 version, ed. Nowak)

The Bruckner Fourth a couple of days previous to this concert from Daniel Barenboim and his Berlin Staatskapelle brought forth a raft of delights; and again, a Mozart piano concerto was in the first half. This time it was Christian Thielemann and the Dresden Staatskapelle that was in the spotlight; and a different soloist, the well-respected Daniil Trifonov. Amazingly, Thielemann was making his Proms debut. He is clearly a no-nonsense conductor, not waiting for the audience to settle down before commencing; his baton technique is exemplary in clarity and expressive.

Back in 2013, Trifonov impressed with a Proms performance of Glazunov’s Second Piano Concerto with the LSO under Gergiev. If only his Mozart were as splendid. After a finely crafted orchestral exposition, with some gorgeous woodwind to string dovetailing, Trifonov entered promisingly, including a perfect trill. But a surprising memory lapse when his left hand went awry implied not all was settled; neither was co-ordination between piano and orchestra exemplary. Trifonov’s own cadenzas were certainly off-the-wall, the scampering, virtuoso cadenza in the first movement inviting in a whole range of gestures unknown to Mozart. The opening of the finale, which often finds the odd inserted flourish from pianists, found Trifonov adding a quasi-extempore passage that really was quite extended. There was even a touch of Busoni in the air in the finale’s more extended cadenza – and extended and dramatic it was, too. A shame, too, that the delightfully staccatissimo woodwind were somewhat scuppered by the acoustic. The famous slow movement was beautifully done by the orchestra, but Trifonov had a tendency to try to be over-subtle, sometimes just being too quiet in the process. A curious performance, and not one I would like to relive in a hurry.

The quite charming encore was Prokofiev’s own arrangement of the ‘Gavotte’ from the ballet Cinderella.

 So to the Third Symphony, in what is obviously Bruckner Week at the Proms. This was heard in the 1877 version (Thielemann did the 1873 first version in Munich but was dissatisfied; the second version of 1874 had already been done by Haitink with the Dresden orchestra so he plumped for the 1877). Conducting from memory, Thielemann delivered a clean, well-considered reading of the score. As in the first half, antiphonal violins were used; the brass choir here was to the conductor’s right. There were some glorious brass moments, the trumpets especially commanding. The horn vibrato was less convincing, however.

Thielemann’s understanding of the linear aspect of Bruckner’s writing resulted in some glorious counterpoint and a cleanliness of line even at climaxes; everything was tightly controlled. The string sound for the Andante was warm, but not glowing, and here Thielemann seemed keen to draw out the ghost of Wagner behind the writing as a whole as well as in direct quotation. By far the finest movement was the Scherzo and Trio, setting incisive, biting, fierce attack against an inviting Ländler. The finale was a showcase for Thielemann’s phenomenal stick technique and the way he effortlessly negotiated those sticky corners. One splendid moment was a magical cello line against pizzicato accompaniment; the movement’s climax was well, if not staggeringly, realised.

The thing is that while there was a raft of stand-out moments in Thielemann’s reading, the sense of overwhelming mastery was missing. Bruckner’s Third is a perfect piece for the Albert Hall, and I was present at the 1988 Chailly/Concertgebouw performance which was highly impressive and which I remember to this day, 28 years on. I wonder if I will remember too much of Thielemann’s reading if called to do so by another Bruckner Third Symphony in the 2044 Promenade season (assuming I am still here?). Somehow, I doubt it.

Colin Clarke

Comments

Leave a Reply

Recent Reviews

MW

Facebook-button-1

Season Previews

__________________________________
  • NEW! Classical Music and Other Events at the Southbank Centre in 2019-20 __________________________________
  • NEW! Longborough Festival Opera’s 2019 Season __________________________________
  • UPDATED! Cleveland Orchestra in 2019-20 __________________________________
  • NEW! Classical Music at the Barbican in 2019-20 __________________________________
  • NEW! The Met: Live in HD in 2019-20 __________________________________
  • NEW! Carnegie Hall 2019-2020 Season Highlights __________________________________
  • NEW! Bampton Classical Opera’s 2019 Performances of Stephen Storace’s Gli sposi malcontenti __________________________________
  • NEW! Nevill Holt Opera’s 2019 Season __________________________________
  • NEW! 2019 Aldeburgh Festival at the Snape Maltings in June __________________________________
  • NEW! Garsington Opera’s 2019 30th Anniversary Season __________________________________
  • NEW! Venus Unwrapped: Kings Place’s Year-Long Focus on Women Composers __________________________________
  • NEW! Opera Buenos Aires in 2019 – Largely Traditional __________________________________
  • NEW! Looking Ahead to the 2019 Lucerne Festivals __________________________________
  • NEW! Opera Holland Park’s 2019 Season __________________________________
  • The Royal Opera House’s Exciting 2018/19 Cinema Season __________________________________
  • UPDATED! Zurich Opera in 2018/2019 and Beyond __________________________________
  • Salzburg Whitsun Festival 7 – 10 June 2019 __________________________________
  • Subscribe to Review Summary Newsletter

    Reviews by Reviewer

    News and Featured Articles

    __________________________________
  • NEW! A New Initiative is Announced Supporting the Development of Female Conductors __________________________________
  • NEW! In August Fulham Opera’s Most Ambitious Project to Date – Die Meistersinger Von Nürnberg __________________________________
  • NEW! Chelsea Opera Group Perform Boito’s Mefistofele on 24 March at the QEH __________________________________
  • R.I.P. IN MEMORIAM ANDRÉ PREVIN (1929-2019) __________________________________
  • NEW! CHRISTOPHE ROUSSET IN CONVERSATION WITH COLIN CLARKE __________________________________
  • NEW! Ivan Putrov’s Against the Stream Ballet Gala Night on 7 April __________________________________
  • NEW! London To Hear Long-Overdue Revival of Parry’s Oratorio Judith in April __________________________________
  • NEW! PIANIST MARC-ANDRÉ HAMELIN IN CONVERSATION WITH GEOFFREY NEWMAN __________________________________
  • NEW! Ik zeg: NU: I say now, now … an interview with Richard Causton __________________________________
  • NEW! CONDUCTOR ÁDÁM FISCHER IN CONVERSATION WITH MICHAEL COOKSON __________________________________
  • NEW! SOPRANO ELENA MOȘUC IN CONVERSATION WITH CASEY CREEL __________________________________
  • NEW! MAESTRO RICCARDO FRIZZA IN CONVERSATION WITH MARGARIDA MOTA-BULL __________________________________
  • NEW! A Q&A WITH GERMAN SOPRANO PETRA LANG __________________________________
  • HOW TO CONTACT SEEN AND HEARD INTERNATIONAL __________________________________
  • Search S&H

    Archives by Week

    Archives by Month