Photo, Chris Christodoulou
Thursday, July 20, 2023
Royal Albert Hall, London
María Dueñas has been globetrotting with Lalo’s five-movement Symphonie espagnole, including https://www.colinscolumn.com/detroit-symphony-orchestra-jader-bignamini-conducts-wynton-marsalis-richard-strauss-with-maria-duenas-playing-lalos-symphonie-espagnole-live-dso-webcast/, and, https://www.elbphilharmonie.de/en/mediatheque/ndr-elbphilharmonie-orchester-maria-duenas-alan-gilbert/878. In London she had a few skiddy moments, the tone somewhat uningratiating at times, but much that was spun from virtuoso bowing and exact fingering, add to which an intense if variegated and identified-with response to the notes, smartly accompanied. As an extra, an arrangement for violin and strings of Fauré’s song Après un rêve, Dueñas floating ethereally.
The concert opened with a couple of snippets from Falla’s La vida breve, the ‘Interlude’ conveying that passions in this opera are tempestuous and that it has a tragic storyline, to which the ‘Dance’ lightens the mood with a sway and a seduction as well as colour that is instantly Spanish.
Following the interval, ‘Ibéria’, the second tableau of Debussy’s Images pour orchestre, Josep Pons leading a closely observed if rather dour account, lacking vibrancy in the outer sections, the first nearly fell asleep, such an approach more in-keeping with ‘Les parfums de la nuit’, given with Celibidachian breadth and rapture, almost, https://www.colinscolumn.com/celibidache-the-lso-from-concerts-in-london-osaka-and-madrid-all-audio/.
Finally, a noteworthy Boléro, finely controlled by Pons as to a steady/unwavering tempo and building the crescendo, with well-tailored solos en route to a liberating conclusion. More here, https://www.colinscolumn.com/ravels-bolero-a-selection-of-fifteen-performances-across-the-decades-from-franz-andre-to-klaus-tennstedt-alphabetical-if-arranged-in-a-higgledy-piggledy-order-and-including-conducted-by-ravel/.