Music by Dvorák, Rachmaninov and Sibelius
from Sergio Tiempo, Mark Elder
and the Hallé Orchestra
impress MIKE WHEELER
The Hallé Orchestra opened the new season at Nottingham's Royal Concert Hall (Nottingham, UK, 1 October 2009) with nearly the same programme with which they did a similar job in Derby two weeks before. The one change was to start with The Noonday Witch, one of that extraordinary clutch of Lisztian tone poems that Dvorák wrote towards the end of his life. The story was told with plenty of vigour and colour not only by the orchestra but by Mark Elder himself in his spoken introduction (if he should ever decide to retire from conducting he could well carve out a second career on the story-telling circuit).
Once again, Sergio Tiempo was the soloist in Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto No 2. Catching more of the bell-like quality in the solo introduction this time, his performance was, like before, marked by a refusal to wallow. The element of rhythmic ambiguity in the opening of the second movement was somewhat played down, but the move into the central quick section was beautifully seamless, and the finale had both brilliance and warmth without overheating.
The first movement of Sibelius' Symphony No 5 was faultlessly paced. The second was treated as more than just a lyrical interlude, while the finale was steered towards its final pages with a gripping sense of inexorable momentum.
Copyright © 10 October 2009