Photo, Chris Christodoulou

Thursday, July 20, 2023

Royal Albert Hall, London

María Dueñas has been globetrotting with Lalo’s five-movement Symphonie espagnole, including, and, 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,

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,