Thursday, 22 January 2015

Magic Flutes

Philharmonia Orchestra cond. Diego Matheuz, De Montfort Hall

It was put to me that the Philharmonia have played the Tchaikovsky violin concerto three times in the last five seasons at the De Montfort Hall. If you think an audience might tire of it, think again, as the concert was a sell-out.
It started with a perfectly fine Mussorgsky Bare Mountain. Ray Chen’s solo in the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto may have been technically very fine, but it didn’t seem to mean anything, and he didn’t seem to feel anything. Deiego Matheuz’s pace seemed fractionally slow throughout the evening. The Rimsky-Korsakov Scheherazade was the best piece, but still seemed slightly underwhelming. The flute solos and contributions (Samuel Coles and June Scott) were consistently wonderful and beautiful, and showed the quality which Chen lacked.  
Perhaps they suffered against Pappano, Kaufmann and Westbroek. The flaw is programmatically: safe music to make books balance. But whilst they come, and in such numbers, unambitious programming is unlikely to cease; it seems a shame to abuse such a good orchestra thus. The Parisian and Nordic sessions to follow promise more.

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