A violin and a Mermaid

Two major Romantic works yesterday at the Royal Festival Hall, performed by the London Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Emmanuel Krivine. After opening with Brahms's Tragic Overture, Sibelius's Violin Concerto was performed by the Latvian violinist Gideon Kremer. The concerto is strongly influenced by the composer's homeland, FInland, and has a dark-ish but not gloomy tone for much of the time - ending with a lively if slightly ponderous dance tune. Kremer's performance was warm and affectionate: endearingly his movements in the lively sections almost amounted to the sort of near-dance that one might have seen from a folk fiddler in a Scandinavian dance-hall. This was one of the best performances I've ever heard of this well-known work, and justly received a tremendous ovation.

The second half of the concert consisted of a little-known late Romantic work by Alexander Zemlinsky, who studied under Mahler and later taught Korngold: he composed several operas - mostly on fairy-tale themes - but has never caught the popoular imagination. Die Seejungfrau is a forty-minute tone poem based on Hans Christian Andersen's The Little Mermaid - forget the Disney film, the work reflects the harsher story of the original, with no happy ending. The work is lushly romantic and densely scored, and though it perhaps stretches its main themes out a little it is involving and attractive: an excellent performance all round.

Posted: Thu - January 24, 2008 at 09:30 AM by Roger Wilmut          



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Published On: Mar 11, 2016 05:00 PM