Saturday, October 23, 2021

Berliner Philharmonie, Herbert-von-Karajan-Straße, Berlin

Symphonies opened and closed this latest Berlin Philharmonic broadcast. First Mozart 33 (B-flat, K319, which appealed to Carlos Kleiber), Ádám Fischer graphically and smilingly leading a zesty account of the first movement, dynamically observed and with expressive leeway, the latter quality carrying eloquently into the slow movement. The Minuet contrasted bite and elegance, the Trio was a solo spot for strings, oboes and bassoons, and the Finale flew by, dancing with poise and verve. Surprisingly, for a musician as Classically savvy as Fischer, there was no second-half repeat and also something of a contrivance to end with (not something to do twice, however).

Haydn 103 (his penultimate Symphony, Number Eleven of the ‘London’ series) opened not so much with a crescendo-diminuendo ‘Drumroll’ as a vibrant many-note signal to start a military tattoo; otherwise, in musical reality, a shadowy Adagio/perky Allegro (timpani salvo returning), an on-the-move Andante that didn’t overlook its finer points, the Minuet married emphasis and consideration (the Trio, pared to solo lines, delicious), and the Finale certainly had the spirito that Haydn requests.

Either side of the interval were two short choral works, Mozart’s Kyrie in D-minor (K341) and Haydn’s Der Sturm. The former, at once operatic (the scoring includes trumpets and timpani, four horns and organ) and supplicatory, paves the way for the K626 Requiem, whereas the Haydn is suitably dramatic (with trombones in the mix) as the tempest makes itself known, and prayerful in search of respite. In both settings the members of Rundfunkchor Berlin excelled – intense, painterly and reflective.