Tetzlaff & Gardner (Chicago Symphony Orchestra)

Saturday, September 30, 2023

Southbank Centre, London – Royal Festival Hall

Once again Radio 3 failed to advise the date for a concert it had recorded (was it too much for the continuity announcer to share some Reithian information such as “recorded last Saturday”?), which opened with a lithe and pacy account of the Overture from Beethoven’s incidental music for Goethe’s Egmont, cohesive and over in a flash. To close, Tchaikovsky’s Fourth Symphony, the composer dealing with and overcoming Fate, introduced urgently by a fine showing from the LPO’s brass section, Edward Gardner delivering a first movement of critical emotions and balletic poise. A mellifluous oboe solo opened the second movement, spacious, songful and soulful, an escape from previous conflicts, although a dark side isn’t far away. Craving contrasts, Gardner then set a fizzing tempo for the pizzicatos of the Scherzo, finely graded, unanimously delivered, and completed the performance with a sizzling final movement, not over the speed limit, more about getting away from kismet, the coda dancing with triumph.

Following his Elgar at the Proms, https://www.colinscolumn.com/bbc-proms-2023-prom-51-bbc-symphony-orchestra-sakari-oramo-conducts-judith-weir-robert-schumann-with-christian-tetzlaff-playing-edward-elgars-violin-concerto-live-on-bbc-radio-3/, Christian Tetzlaff was back in London, this time for Bartók, strummed into life by a harp to herald Tetzlaff’s intensity and volatility, his first-movement inward lyricism and rapacious energy matched by a detailed and complementary LPO , then conversational, fragrant, rapturous and agile in the Variations of the central movement – orchestra and conductor at-one with the soloist – and a fiery Finale of dexterity as well as sure direction to the Concerto’s intriguing original ending (no mention of this striking departure on the broadcast) during which the violinist does not play, something Bartók would revise. As an encore Tetzlaff played Bach, the ‘Allemande’ from the B-minor Partita, BWV1002, magically spun.

Thirty-plus years ago: