Strongly Emotional Tod und Verklärung from Feddeck and Bournemouth SO

United KingdomUnited Kingdom Britten, Dvořák, Richard Strauss: Daniel Müller-Schott (cello), Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra / James Feddeck (conductor), The Lighthouse, Poole. 25.4.2018. (IL)

(Rehearsal photo) BSO, Daniel Müller-Schott (cello) & James Feddeck (conductor)

Britten – Four Sea Interludes (Peter Grimes)

Dvořák – Cello Concerto in B minor

Richard Strauss – Tod und Verklärung

Dvořák composed his achingly lovely Cello Concerto while he was in America. The homesickness for his beloved Bohemia is apparent in every bar, coupled with his concern for his sister-in-law, dangerously ill back in his home land. This performance glowed. It captured these sentiments superbly. Daniel Müller-Schott’s tone and technical facility were beyond criticism, and his reading was heart-achingly sensitive: tenderly sentimental and nostalgic, yet not in the least maudlin. I was particularly impressed with his lovely duet with the flautist, and his duets with string section leaders. Feddeck gave sterling support, the brass tutti were powerful and commanding, with fine work from the horns. The woodwinds and strings caught the mood beautifully too.

American conductor, James Feddeck, is a flamboyant figure on the platform, given to broad gestures. He gets results, though. His reading of Richard Strauss’s Tod und Verklärung (Death and Transfiguration) was mightily impressive. To modern minds, the concept of this symphonic poem might seem fanciful. Strauss’s hero lies dying, the orchestra creeps in on the scene quietly and observes his agony and the recollections of his life. The music reflects all its facets: nobility and heroism, loves and passions and artistic pursuits before soft strokes of the tam-tam signal the moment of his death. Feddeck implied all this most graphically and convincingly. After the soul’s deliverance, he wondrously realised that glorious heartfelt melody suggesting the soul had met its reward. Paradise indeed.

I wish I could have been as enthusiastic about this performance of Britten’s Four Sea Interludes. I have heard better. It started well with the violins in highest register, suggesting a cold, bleak East Anglian dawn. A moment of poor horn intonation spoilt the mood and henceforward, for me, inspiration and imagination faltered.

Generally, an inspired concert. It was broadcast live on BBC Radio 3 and is available on iPlayer.

Ian Lace

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