Wednesday, March 1, 2023

Concert Hall, Helsinki Music Centre, Mannerheimintie 13 A, 00100 Helsinki, Finland

I recently reviewed Tabita Berglund in Detroit,, and now in Helsinki, opening with the five-minute Nachruf by her fellow-Norwegian Arne Nordheim (1931-2010), a spare and soulful “musical epitaph” for strings, followed by an uplifting antidote, Haydn’s D-major Cello Concerto in a lively somewhat extemporised account of the solo part from Tomas Nuñez, relaxed and confident, sporting attractive tone (and a first-movement cadenza by Maurice Gendron, I think), accompanied smartly, flowingly expressive in the slow movement, courtly in the Finale if with plenty of notes. (No encore.) Mahler’s First Symphony contained Intriguing correspondences in the opening movement (if not the exposition repeat: a shame for it would have been interesting to hear if it was less slippery in the playing second time) and was somewhat excitable as guided by a talented young person, although she ensured that the Scherzo was suitably pesante. A mournful solo bass featured in the macabre funeral march, so too a wonderfully tender middle section as contrast, and divergences also emerged in the Finale, too much so to be cohesive, yet individual moments compelled and the conclusion was fiercely triumphant.