It’s Valentine’s Day. Billets-doux sent out … If music be the food of love, play on. Let me spool back a fortnight to Friday January 31. The plan was simple, to watch a Beethoven concert live from Dublin, Leonard Slatkin conducting the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra. Technical problems made for a frustrating evening, a mix of listen-only and then a YouTube ‘find’ which had sound and picture not together. I managed to sort it out and also needed to catch-up. Slatkin conducted Symphony 7 with directness but not overdrive, very considered, and he took an unusual approach to repeats (although Ernest Ansermet on his Decca recording does similarly), which is to observe them all save for the one in the first movement; very persuasive to my mind: carry straight on. The concert’s centrepiece was the Violin Concerto with Stefan Jackiw as an elegant, lyrically expressive soloist, displaying poise in a nifty Finale. (His J S Bach encore, a Sonata slow movement, was good too.) The Overture was Consecration of the House, a Cinderella in Beethoven’s output (as Opus 124 it sits between the Missa solemnis and Symphony 9) but is a favourite of mine – ceremonial, rapt and transporting, and vigorously contrapuntal (Handelian), all encompassed by the RTÉ players and the maestro. In short, Leonard does Ludwig rather well.
RTÉ/Slatkin on YouTube