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Nicely Judged

Beethoven, Stravinsky and Weber
from The Hallé Orchestra,
impresses MIKE WHEELER


If the Triple Concerto is the Cinderella of Beethoven's concertos, then the Hallé Orchestra's performance (Royal Concert Hall, Nottingham, UK, 25 October 2008) showed that she deserves to go to the ball just as much as the others. The expense of three soloists really is the only valid reason for not playing it more regularly. With the trio of Paul Barritt, violin, Nicholas Trygstad, cello, and Jonathan Scott, piano, this was a performance that found just the right balance between the grand manner of a concerto and the intimacy of chamber music, with a nicely-judged blend of warmth and clarity. Balance was not a problem, the first movement flowed, there was a beautiful song-like lyricism in the second, while the polonaise finale was alert and buoyant, full of good humour.

It made a perfect foil to a reading of Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring that never lost sight of the fact that this is a ballet score. It succeeded in being both light on its feet and earthy at the same time. 'Augurs of Spring', in particular, was bouncy and athletic, as well as incisive. The performance was also marked by Principal Guest Conductor Markus Stenz's meticulous attention to tempo relationships between sections.

The concert opened with an incisive, dramatic account of the overture to Weber's Der Freischütz.

Copyright © 8 November 2008 Mike Wheeler, Derby UK


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