Bath Mozartfest: London Philharmonic Orchestra
London Philharmonic Orchestra with Angela Hewitt and Bath Camerata.
The Forum, Bath
Hannu Lintu may not be a name familiar to many of the audience at this final concert of Mozartfest 2012. Once seen, though, never to be forgotten: he is quite a mover! And he also literally carved out a superlative performance of Tchaikovsky's 6th Symphony, The Pathetique, from these very experienced players. It is a work shot through with melancholy, yet, in the third movement Allegro vivace, it has a blazing energy and a passionate climax which provoked premature applause. The final Adagio lamentoso plumbs the abyss of sadness, the lower strings growling, then mute. Lintu's reading searched out every emotion: some plangent woodwind, crepuscular brass and sensitive strings, in a remarkable outpouring of moving poignancy. We were all quite spent at the end, after a long pregnant pause, before a storm of applause. It was the perfect ending to what has been a quite excellent Festival.
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Earlier, we heard Schumann's Nachtlied, sung by Nigel Perrin's very accomplished Bath Camerata. It is a short piece, but it has a quality of peaceful repose which mitigates its occasional sombreness, beautifully sung, with exactly the right warm invitation to sleep – but I didn't nod off!
Angela Hewitt's bravura performance of the Mozart Piano Concerto No 24 gave us yet more movement, graceful and elegant, like her playing. The partnership with Hannu Lintu produced a striking pas de deux, and the middle movement Larghetto was a study in fluid, melodic artistry. Interestingly, too, the final Allegretto was taken steadily, allowing the staccato rhythm to make its mark. It was a felicitous combination of orchestra and solo piano, in one of Mozart's most imaginatively orchestrated concertos, with plenty of interesting work for the wind players, complementing the solo part, which is full of lively movement, exploring the full range of the keyboard, in a virtuoso interpretation. Now we have the Bachfest to come in February 2013. It's looking good.
Peter Lloyd Williams