Saturday, September 16, 2023

Radio Hall, Bucharest, Romania

Following Ligeti’s Lontano – which put the State Philharmonic Orchestra of Sibiu on its mettle regarding dynamics, sustained notes and creating a suspenseful atmosphere, as well as something coming from afar, all successfully negotiated under Roderick Cox’s stewardship – Ioana Cristina Goicea gave a rather wonderful account of Erich Wolfgang Korngold’s Violin Concerto, impassioned, lyrically soaring, and full of personal touches that gave an impromptu impression yet were also intrinsic to the score, especially heartfelt in the slow movement, freely expressed with alluring tone, and rounded by a sparkling and flexible Finale. Throughout, the accompaniment was deft and detailed. I can’t name Goicea’s encore, but it confirmed her confidence, vibrancy and vivid communication. After the interval of this early-afternoon concert, Cox, Winner of the 2018 Sir Georg Solti Conducting Award, led Tchaikovsky’s Fourth Symphony, not the most fateful of performances if with well-judged moving-along tempos as well as surety of direction and peaks yet without making emotional waves or penetrating the composer’s psyche. Best were the middle movements, expressive in the slow one with some characterful woodwind contributions, and agile and witty in the pizzicato third, perky winds in the Trio. The Finale was a little hidebound and not ‘released’ enough in the coda, perhaps because there was less, this time, to be released from.