Monday, September 27, 2021
Wigmore Hall, London
Last night most members of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra were in Bucharest, http://www.colinscolumn.com/george-enescu-festival-daniel-harding-conducts-bruckner-7-tv-romania-live-webcast/, whereas several colleagues were heading to London for today’s lunchtime gig at Wigmore Hall (unless they jumped on the first-available plane following Bruckner 7).
Camerata RCO included Brahms’s D-major First Serenade in its original version for nonet (string trio, bass, flute, two clarinets, bassoon and horn). The young, mid-twenties, Brahms (as pictured) would orchestrate the work (Opus 11). In either scoring it’s an ambitious six-movement piece, played stylishly and with collegiate interplay by the RCO musicians, tempos well-judged for articulate music-making and with the lengthy first-movement exposition repeated to emphasise the piece’s scale, the players also displaying a keen ear for rustic timbres (the opening Allegro is bucolic and gorgeously tuneful), lyrical curlicues and rhythmic vitality. Sultry colours informed the flowing third-movement Adagio; otherwise it’s a couple of Scherzos, a Minuet and a joyous Finale.
The recital opened with Carl Nielsen’s Serenata in vano (Serenade in vain, 1914, for clarinet, bassoon, horn, cello and bass). Described by the composer as a “humorous trifle” it is certainly charmingly whimsical and story-telling descriptive played here with skill and affection. If I heard the Radio 3 announcer correctly, Bernard Haitink (for many years the Amsterdam Concertgebouw Orchestra’s conductor) was in the audience.
A splendid lunchtime concert – the star players fresh from Bucharest and Bruckner Seven little more than twelve hours earlier …