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A Memorable Concert

Chloë Hanslip, Slatkin and the RPO
reviewed by MALCOLM MILLER


The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra is deservedly one of London's finest international orchestras, and with the combination of a world class conductor such as Leonard Slatkin and an outstanding young talent such as Chloë Hanslip, the scene is set for an electric and stirring musical experience. Such was the concert on 6 November 2007 which, at a well filled Cadogan Hall [London UK], featured as its centrepiece the twenty year old virtuoso in Prokofiev's translucently lyrical first violin concerto. As she told the audience at the upbeat, informative and wide-ranging pre-concert discussion with Slatkin and Edward Seckerson in the chair, she was soon to perform Prokofiev's second concerto, followed by several other concertos, including Beethoven, in quick succession. The first Concerto, dating from 1923, is like a silken thread, that unfolds in melody from the very start, as the first violin theme winds its way to a glistening peak.

Chloë Hanslip. Photo © Joe Bangay
Chloë Hanslip. Photo © Joe Bangay

Chloë Haslip was everything one could have expected here from a rising star, her sparkling red dress matching a glistening account that enthralled while still promising to mature in subtlety and depth. Her pizzicato attack was resonant and matched the woodwind well in their melody that launches the development, where the Russian colours of the harmony were echoed in her incisive and driving articulation of the chordal passages, alternating with the lean melodic lines, yet the magic was saved for the final section of the movement, where her chromatic spiralling cast flickering incandescence over harp and flute. The sheer exuberance of the helter-skelter central movement, during which Slatkin kept the RPO on a tight yet steady rein throughout from the initial ticking ostinato, was riveting and refreshing, Hanslip's twists and turns showing her meshing with the instrument (a Guarneri del Jesu 1720 for which, as we heard in the pre concert talk, Hanslip is looking for support) in a relentless race towards the high flying finish. The final movement also flowed with élan, with some notable tuba playing (Prokofiev dispenses with trombones in this work), before the luminous fairytale conclusion, which lingered in the memory, the violin rising ever higher with ethereal sounds from the orchestra in the final bars.

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Copyright © 8 November 2007 Malcolm Miller, London UK


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