sun 18/08/2019

BBC Proms: Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Chung/ Erben, Belcea Quartet | reviews, news & interviews

BBC Proms: Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Chung/ Erben, Belcea Quartet

BBC Proms: Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Chung/ Erben, Belcea Quartet

Two Proms deliver a Holy Trinity, from geriatric Brahms to spectral Schubert

Violinist Corina Belcea-Fisher: 'Impeccable in technique and delivery'

The Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost materialised yesterday. And I'm not talking about the transcendental appearance of the Holy Trinity of News International. I'm talking Proms. Last night's two saw a geriatric performance of the Brahms double, a brand spanking new way through an old Rite and a transfiguringly spectral invocation of Schubert's Quintet.



One of my friends said years ago "Brahms should bounce". Chung's idea of Brahms was far too dull. What one admired in this performance was the unanimity of the Capuçon brothers, Gautier watching Renaud intently. As for the Rite, all the notes were there in the right order, but without any feeling for the subtext of the music. Yet another Proms Rite that hasn't reached the excellence of the Budapest Festival Orchestra under Iván Fischer in 2006!

That's it in a nutshell, Brian: "Brahms should bounce". And dance, and cross the barlines. Jurowski knows what to do. So did Ashkenazy in a Prom many years back which took me by surprise in its treatment of the second subjects almost as ballet music. Brahms is NOT dull or academic!

The performance of the Brahms was quite dull, and Chung's accompaniment didn't really match the spirit of the soloists (though I found their playing rather too emphatic). The Rite was good (though the brass fell into the same trap that Daniele Gatti's French orchestra did last year at the end of the first part). I heard a stunningly good Rite played by Dutoit and the RPO at the RFH a month or two ago, which set the bar very high and as good as this one was, the Dutoit Rite was rather too fresh in my memory. The Belcea Schubert was outstanding, really making the case that we can listen to these works in different ways in unusual venues.

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