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<<<  <<  -- 2 --  Malcolm Miller    A SONOROUS FEAST


Fulfilling expectations as one of the BBC Radio 3's 'New Generation Artists', the French-trained pianist Cédric Tiberghien displayed leonine virtuosity in Brahms' First Piano Concerto, this most demanding and zestful of concertos, immaculate and athletic, yet in quieter moments his rarefied almost intentionally bland touch had a detached quality, a post-modern objectivity that seemed to be at one remove. If the switch of personality was almost disconcerting, the pianism was magnificent, and fully engaging, as in the slow movement, which was coolly mesmerizing, and the finale, in which his steely touch was contrasted by the BBCSO's always supple, expressive colours.

The enthusiastic applause was rewarded by a Bach-Busoni chorale prelude as special encore, in which the contrapuntal layering was magically projected in contrasting tonal luminosities, subtle voicing in the middle voices and rhythmic serenity that reached an ethereal realm. It was masterly playing by a pianist destined for a promising international career.

The Fifth Symphony of Dvorák is full of folk-like influences, in which Belohlávek revelled. The first movement's drama and many orchestral felicities were realised with thrilling sonority emanating from Belohlávek's sweeping command. The second movement found the cello tune full of sculpted beauty, and the third had a chirpy bright outlook with a delicate fugato. The blaze of colour in the fourth movement was enhanced by syncopated rhythms projected with powerful energy, showing off the prowess of each section of a magnificent orchestra in fine form throughout; a sonorous feast for all.

Copyright © 7 April 2007 Malcolm Miller, London UK





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Classical Music Programme Notes for concerts and recordings, by Malcolm Miller