United Kingdom Richard Strauss, Sibelius, Tchaikovsky: Augustin Hadelich (violin), Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra/ Thomas Dausgaard (conductor), Lighthouse, Poole 27.4.2016. (IL)
Richard Strauss: Don Juan
Sibelius: Violin Concerto in D minor
Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 4 in F minor
Augustin Hadelich is the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra’s Artist-in-Residence. He plays the 1723 ‘Ex-Kiesewetter’ Stradivarius violin on loan and his Avie recording of the Sibelius and Adès violin concertos was Gramophone Award nominated. Under the baton of Thomas Dausgaard, Hadelich gave a deeply sensitive and glowing account of the popular Sibelius Violin Concerto with its soaring heartfelt melodies. His reading was expansive, ardent, gorgeously phrased and exquisitely shaped and nuanced, and, in the extrovert finale, robustly rhythmic and breathtakingly virtuosic.
The BSO’s affinity with Tchaikovsky’s symphonies is well known. Many might recall that Gramophone considered that the Orchestra’s 1989 recordings of Nos. 4 – 6 including the Manfred Symphony with Andrew Litton (all available in a box set Virgin Classics 561893-2) to be one of the finest available. Dausgaard’s reading did not disappoint either for here was passion and power a-plenty with the opening movement a thunderous fist-shaking at a malign fate and a finale delivered in white heat. In the Scherzo: pizzicato the strings were on top form and the woodwinds, oboe leading, deserved their ovation for their delectable contribution.
If only such passion had informed the opening of Richard Strauss’s Don Juan. Alas this Juan, on his first appearance was hardly Errol Flynn. I missed the recklessness that Fritz Reiner, for instance, brought to this magnificent opening, all devil-may care muscular masculinity followed by a sweeping romantic tune designed to sweep any woman off her feet; instead I should think Dausgaard might simply have left her wondering… However things improved (with the exception of the final death scene that might also have been much more expressive) and the music became much more dramatic and convincing as it progressed.