Galvanising Performance of Sibelius’ Violin Concerto by Janine Jansen

22/10/2016

Mahler, Sibelius, Beethoven: Janine Jansen (violin), Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Thomas Søndergård (conductor), Usher Hall, 21.10.2016. (SRT)

Mahler – Blumine; What the Wild Flowers Tell Me (arr. Britten)

Sibelius – Violin Concerto

Beethoven – Symphony No. 7

Thomas Søndergård is conducting three concerts with the RSNO this year. Each one consist of Mahler, Sibelius and Beethoven, and only Mahler, Sibelius and Beethoven. It’s a good idea for a concert strand, and he opened it tonight with a side of Mahler that we don’t often hear: an intricate, soloistic soundscape that’s full of delicacy and lighter on its feet than you mostly expect from this composer. Blumine, in particular, was beautifully shaded, seeming to dissolve into air in its final phrase, and featured a knockout solo from Christopher Hart, the orchestra’s new principal trumpet, who played his tune with crystalline brightness and, for me, a refreshing touch of the Yorkshire band. Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony was rather well-behaved to being with, but Søndergård found a new gear with the lurches that began the first movement’s development, and the Allegretto flowed beautifully, with a surging sense of melancholy to it, though the Scherzo and finale sounded a little workmanlike to me.

The highlight of the evening was hearing Janine Jansen playing Sibelius’ violin concerto, however. It’s a concerto I’ve struggled to love in the past because it has often struck me as frosty and detached; but it’s hard to hold that view when you hear the way Jansen throws herself into it. The soloist’s way with the first theme, for example, was intensely felt, not chilly, and the intensity of Jansen’s commitment was galvanising, not just for the audience but for the orchestra who repeatedly rose to meet her, most powerfully in the big string climaxes of the slow movement. The colour of her playing was universal, but was most impressive in the richness of the lower registers, making the sensational, long, low line of the beginning of the Adagio the highlight of the performance.  She then leaned (sometimes physically!) into every phrase of the finale, making this the most colourful and energetic performance of the concerto I think I’ve ever heard.  This was one of those performances that makes you hear a piece with fresh ears.

Simon Thompson

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Comments

Leave a Reply

Recent Reviews

MW

Facebook-button-1

Season Previews

__________________________________
  • NEW! Northampton’s 13th Malcolm Arnold Festival – 13 to 14 October 2018 __________________________________
  • NEW! The Met: Live in HD in 2018/19 __________________________________
  • NEW! The Royal Opera House’s Exciting 2018/19 Cinema Season __________________________________
  • NEW! See Pop-Up Opera’s La Tragédie de Carmen this Autumn __________________________________
  • NEW! This October Carlos Acosta Returns to London to Celebrate Thirty Years in Dance __________________________________
  • NEW! Oxford Chamber Music Festival October 2018 __________________________________
  • UPDATED! Zurich Opera in 2018/2019 and Beyond __________________________________
  • NEW! Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts
 in 2018/2019 __________________________________
  • NEW! Edinburgh Sunday International Concerts Series in 2018/19 __________________________________
  • NEW! Salzburg Whitsun Festival 7 – 10 June 2019 __________________________________
  • NEW! Bolshoi Ballet 2018/19 UK Cinema Season __________________________________
  • NEW! 2018-2019 Geneva Grand Theâtre Season __________________________________
  • NEW! 2018/19 Hallé Season in Manchester __________________________________
  • NEW! 2018/19 Tonhalle Orchestra Zürich __________________________________
  • NEW! 2018/19 CBSO at Symphony Hall, Birmingham __________________________________
  • NEW! 2018/19 BBC NOW in Cardiff and Swansea __________________________________
  • NEW! English National Opera in 2018/19 __________________________________
  • Subscribe to Review Summary Newsletter

    Reviews by Reviewer

    News and Featured Articles

    __________________________________
  • NEW! LMTO Bring Camelot Back to the West End for the First Time in 30 Years on 6 October __________________________________
  • NEW! JACK BUCKLEY’S MEMORIES OF LINDSAY KEMP (1938-2018) __________________________________
  • NEW! THE GESUALDO SIX IN CONVERSATION WITH GEOFFREY NEWMAN __________________________________
  • NEW! A Q&A WITH GERMAN SOPRANO PETRA LANG __________________________________
  • NEW! The Roman River Music Festival Returns This September __________________________________
  • NEW! Opera Appreciation Talks this Autumn from Helen Astrid __________________________________
  • NEW! TENOR NICHOLAS PHAN IN CONVERSATION WITH CHRISTOPHER SALLON __________________________________
  • NEW! THE PIANIST GEORGE HARLIONO IN CONVERSATION WITH GREGOR TASSIE __________________________________
  • NEW! HOW TO CONTACT SEEN AND HEARD INTERNATIONAL __________________________________
  • NEW! A Major Work by Stanford to be Premiered – 99 Years Late! __________________________________
  • NEW! THE CONDUCTOR ALEXANDER SLADKOVSKY IN CONVERSATION WITH GREGOR TASSIE __________________________________
  • NEW! How Our Grandparents Decided How We Should Listen to Music __________________________________
  • NEW! THE TENOR RUSSELL THOMAS IN CONVERSATION WITH MARGARIDA MOTA-BULL __________________________________
  • NEW! RAFAL BLECHACZ IN CONVERSATION WITH GEOFFREY NEWMAN __________________________________
  • Search S&H

    Archives by Week

    Archives by Month