Monday, September 11, 2023

The Romanian Athenaeum, Bucharest

The Enescu Festival 2023, which runs until the Twenty-Fourth with several events each day, has been a little short on live streams and radio broadcasts recently, so the Vienna Philharmonic and Jakub Hrůša last night (Dvořák’s Eighth Symphony, with Igor Levit playing Brahms’s Second Piano Concerto) was not aired – orchestra and conductor have a second concert later tonight – and also not shared were two evenings featuring the Gothenburg Symphony, one conducted by Gustavo Gimeno (including Tchaikovsky Four), the other with Santtu-Matias Rouvali (Leif Ove Andsnes playing the ‘Emperor’ Concerto).

This Würth Philharmoniker’s early-evening programme clashed with Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande, Lawrence Foster conducting Cluj-Napoca Hungarian Opera, a concert performance, and Debussy is certainly present in Würth’s opener, Enescu’s Isis, an impressionistic gem featuring women’s voices, and already included in this year’s Festival fare,, and sensitively distilled under Anu Tali.

She went on to lead Beethoven’s C-minor Piano Concerto No.3 rather dourly if evidently in-keeping with Till Fellner’s conception of the solo part, a first movement that hung fire despite his immaculate playing, with some stabbing interventions in the composer’s cadenza. The slow movement was as sotto voce and as spacious as can be imagined, the Finale relatively lively, to round off a thoroughly musical reading that trusted the notes on the page. For an encore Fellner offered a Schubert Impromptu, shaped lovingly and worth hanging on for. Beethoven followed the interval, also C-minor, the Fifth Symphony – nothing to object to, little to get excited about, however; well-judged tempos, decent-enough playing (woodwinds edgy in sound and tuning), the final movement grandly opened out, even more so with the repeat observed, the tempo held doggedly until the end.

Enescu Isis (completed by Pascal Pentoiu)

CIPRIAN ȚUȚU conductor of the choir