Louise Farrenc (1804-75, Paris)

This Stage+ broadcast (on this day at 11am) was without a concert date that I could find, but some research found it to have taken place in early-March last year, no doubt in the Severance Music Center. Louise Farrenc’s Third and final Symphony is elegantly expressive and structurally assured music written from the heart and classically coiffured, given time by Franz Welser-Möst and through beguiling playing to fully engage the listener, especially the quite lovely slow movement and the delightful gossamer-like Scherzo, with the outer movements no less engaging in terms of invention, development and fulfilment.

Pictures was given an unaffected outing, the Clevelanders in top form (tuttis and solos) in response to Welser-Möst’s refined approach during which tempos were consistently well-judged (faster numbers leaning to the moderate, if too much so for ‘Hut on Fowl’s Legs’, underdone) with masterly balances and blends. Not that there was any lack of character, colour or dynamism – ‘Great Gate of Kiev’ rose to the occasion, for example, powerfully majestic by the close – its simply that Welser-Möst doesn’t lay things on with a trowel and he doesn’t do ‘showpiece’ performances.

Coming between these works, the Ravel found Víkingur Ólafsson in sparkling, debonair and laconic form, as jazzy and as eloquent as the music demands, smartly and lightly accompanied (Welser-Möst not ramming home percussion details, always audible however, a lack of crudity an advantage) although the Adagio was arguably too broad if deeply felt and enhanced by captivating woodwind solos. If Ólafsson played an encore it will be found in the editing suite.

https://www.stage-plus.com/de/video/live_concert_9HKNCPA3DTN66PBIEHFJAC1G?player=true&trackId=live_concert_9HKNCPA3DTN66PBIEHFJAC1G (subscription needed)