<< -- 2 -- Malcolm Miller Totally Beethoven
There was a rich, cohesive texture in the second movement's expansive
themes, following the dialogues between paired oboe and bassoons, conveyed
with expressive conviction, notably their final cadenza in duet. The lively
interactions of the breezy Minuetto, and the question and answer for clarinet
and bassoon in the Trio, came across with vitality, setting the stage for
the riveting Presto finale. Here the clarinet (Karl Durr-Sorensen) propelled
the main theme with energy, answered by the rest of the ensemble. There
was plenty of wit in the two false returns, before the original theme resumes
to conclude with a virtuoso horn flourish (Kevin Elliot and Richard Bayliss)
to round off the work with a fizz.
The Romance No 1 in G for violin and orchestra is one of Beethoven's
most exquisite essays and it was a pity that, despite his sweet tone, the
soloist Martin Smith lacked the necessary level of inspiration, his four
square, pedestrian account, sprinkled with intonational problems, faltering
towards the final cadence.
By contrast, Panos Karan gave an engaging, energising account of the
Piano Concerto No 2 in B flat, with plenty of interaction with the orchestra,
who supplied a resonant counterpart to his lucid and sometimes over dry,
(under-pedaled) approach. A student at London's Royal Academy of Music with
Professor Sulamita Aronovsky yet with a considerable concert experience,
Karan's pianism was impressively dramatic and imbued with the ebullient
virtuosity appropriate for Beethoven's concerto début of 1795. The
piano projected brightly, the themes warmly shaped and the passagework bristling
and with sensitive dynamics. The cadenza's fugal opening was arresting,
followed by Beethovenian drama and power. The slow movement's theme was
poised, the rich cohesive sound enhanced by expressive sustained strings.
Here the many details, such as decorative turns, came across with meaning
and heartfelt expression. The Rondo finale, with its unexpected modulations,
was played with panache and exciting vitality.
Much credit is due to Josefowitz and the LSCO for their championing of
new talent as well as involving Beethoven interpretations. The series continues
on 16 May 2002 at St Martin-in-the-fields with the less often performed
Symphony No 4, the Mass in C and ballet music, and with four more events
in May and June.
Copyright © 10 May 2002
Malcolm Miller, London, UK
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