Music and Vision homepage Jenna Orkin: Writer Wannabe Seeks Brush With Death - From the heights of greatness (the Juilliard School; musicians Rosalyn Tureck and Nadia Boulanger) via way-ward paths to the depths of wickedness these reminiscences will entertain and enlighten.

 

Ensemble

Particularly Memorable

Elgar, Rachmaninov and Sibelius
from the Hallé Orchestra,
enjoyed by MIKE WHEELER

 

Elgar's In The South can seem a bit episodic but Mark Elder and the Hallé (Assembly Rooms, Derby, UK, 19 September 2009) took a longer view and the work emerged as satisfyingly all of a piece. As on a previous occasion, Timothy Pooley's account of the viola solo was hauntingly expressive, and there was an exciting build-up to the work's conclusion.

For Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto No 2 the orchestra was joined by the young Venezuelan pianist Sergio Tiempo. You can see why Martha Argerich took him under her wing. It's not just a matter of fiery temperament, though there was plenty of that. There is also a keen intelligence at work, with a welcome refusal to take this familiar work for granted. How often, for instance, do you hear the dynamics of that opening piano solo so meticulously observed? The intense concentration in the final pages of the second movement was particularly memorable.

After the interval came a thrillingly powerful account of Sibelius' Fifth Symphony. The first movement came across in a virtually seamless sweep, apart from one slight but noticeable gear-change in the continuously accelerating second half. The slowing up at the approach to the final pages of the finale involved no loss of momentum, and I don't think I've ever heard the detached final chords tingle with such vitality.

The encore, though, I could have done without.

Copyright © 26 September 2009 Mike Wheeler,
Derby UK

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HALLE ORCHESTRA

MARK ELDER

EDWARD ELGAR

SERGEI RACHMANINOV

JEAN SIBELIUS

ASSEMBLY ROOMS

DERBY

ORCHESTRAL MUSIC

UNITED KINGDOM

VENEZUELA

RUSSIA

FINLAND

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