André de Ridder and Sinfonia Viva,
enjoyed by MIKE WHEELER
I first encountered young Berlin-born conductor André de Ridder a year ago forging a splendid partnership with the Hallé Orchestra as their Assistant Conductor. I was impressed then, and I was again on this occasion (Royal Concert Hall, Nottingham, UK, 21 November 2006). The suite from Fauré's Pelléas and Mélisande score was lovingly shaped, with hushed concentration, a powerful but not over-stated sense of drama, and a warm, glowing orchestral sound.
Pianist Simon Crawford-Phillips joined the orchestra for two concertos. Together they got the scale of Mozart's Piano Concerto No 12 in A, K414 exactly right, with crispness and lyricism finely balanced. The chamber music-like exchanges between soloist and orchestra in the finale were a particular delight.
After the interval came a splendidly high-spirited account of Shostakovich's Second Piano Concerto. Crawford-Philips and Sinfonia Viva were invigorating and exuberant in the outer movements, and their reading of the central andante was all the better for being direct and straightforward. There were occasional balance problems -- the initial solo entry in the first movement felt a touch reticent -- and the helter-skelter pace adopted in the finale, though exciting on its own terms, brought some loss of detail in the 7/8 sections. But overall it was an infectiously boisterous performance.
To end the evening, de Ridder and Viva explored every expressive facet of Mozart's Symphony No 41. The swift tempo adopted for the second movement brought out the music's latent tension, though at the cost, again, of some lost detail. On the other hand, there was a captivating rhythmic swing to the minuet, with some ear-catching woodwind colours in the trio section, and the finale had pace, grandeur, elegance and nimble articulation. I look forward to conductor and orchestra getting together again.
Copyright © 27 November 2006
Mike Wheeler, Derby UK
ANDRÉ DE RIDDER