Wednesday, August 30, 2023
Grand Palace Hall, Ion Câmpineanu 28, Bucharest, Romania
Three evenings ago Sir Simon bade farewell to the UK as the LSO’s music director, https://www.colinscolumn.com/bbc-proms-2023-prom-56-london-symphony-orchestra-bbc-singers-sir-simon-rattle-conducts-mahlers-ninth-symphony-and-poulencs-figure-humaine-live-on-bbc-radio-3/, but it wasn’t the end of his conducting Mahler Nine wearing that particular hat, for on Monday they took it to Berlin, and now Bucharest; one LSO concert to go with Rattle in his director capacity, tomorrow, also Bucharest, Messiaen.
As might be expected, between Sunday in London and Wednesday in Bucharest there was not much difference between performances, both superbly played, yet this current account seemed more detail-focussed – maybe nothing more than the venues’ respective acoustics and the broadcasters’ microphone placing (TV România credited for the webcast). However, this time I was more aware of portamento in the first few minutes and, overall in the opening movement, a greater appreciation of musical whys and wherefores, of more meaningful interactions, and the slow Finale, previously stretched to emotional breaking point, maybe by the occasion itself, was now expressed internally, if with no lack of potency (rather than being overwrought), before the dissolution to nonexistence. Of the middle movements the ‘Rondo-Burleske’ was contrapuntally tangible, there was greater spiritual import halfway through, and the coda – Rattle pointing here, there, and everywhere – was electrifying.