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Alfred Brendel, Sir Charles Mackerras and the
Scottish Chamber Orchestra at the Aldeburgh Festival,


Great artists transcend normal boundaries of experience, and when two great musicians share the platform with a first class orchestra, the level of inspiration is bound to be transcendent. Such was the impression at the penultimate concert at the UK's Aldeburgh Festival, at Snape Maltings on 23 June 2001, in which Alfred Brendel performed two Mozart concertos with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra under Sir Charles Mackerras, a preparation for their forthcoming recording, as part of Brendel's marathon 70th birthday season. Sold out months before, this concert almost never reached the box office, and I doubt if there were any expectations disappointed, such was the finesse and sheer beauty of expression in the memorable performances.

The rich polish of the SCO was displayed from the start in Haydn's Symphony No 67 on F, a remarkable work on account of its unusual departures from the norm, a buffo first movement, folk scordatura tunings in the Trio of the third, and an unexpected slow interlude for string trio in the place of the finale's development. The attractive tonal colours derived from some fresh sounding natural horns and focused woodwind, as well as a superb string tone. Mackerras' uncanny control of dynamics and the classically sculpted phrasing was full of wonder and suspense.

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Copyright © 30 June 2001 Malcolm Miller, London, UK




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