Shostakovich and Mahler at the QEH
esterday evening at the Queen Elizabeth Hall the Philharmonia Orchestra under Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos played Shostakovich's First Violin Concerto and Mahler's first Symphony ('The Titan').
I'm not familiar with the Shostakovich: I can't say I was much taken with it. Much of it is slow and rather meandering, and the lively sections sound a bit Shostakovich-by-the-yard, with the familiar tricks - unison angular tunes with varying keys, with much use of xylophone. However it was very well played: the soloist was Sergey Khachatryan.
Last week I commented on the warm acoustic of the hall smearing the complex Milhaud piece. Interestingly, Mahler's orchestration - presumably written with a reverberant concert hall in mind - was completely clear and the warm acoustic worked well. The work uses a huge orchestra - 8 double-bass, 8 horns, 5 trumpets, 4 clarinets, 2 tympanists and so on - so the stage was pretty packed.
The performance was exciting and very well performed, though I do take issue with one or two points in the conducting: in the first movement the horns were too loud in some of the counterpoint melodies; in the second movement - the Ländler - I felt it was fractionally too slow, just enough to make it seem a little sluggish.
The third movement is a parody funeral march based round a melody very close to Frère Jacques, and I felt that de Burgos pulled the tempi around a little too much - on the whole this movement should be taken at a steady tempo. The last, spectacular, movement was excellent and got a well-deserved ovation.
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Posted: Wed - June 28, 2006 at 09:29 AM by Roger Wilmut
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Published On: Mar 11, 2016 05:00 PM