Sunday, September 18, 2022

Golden Hall, Musikverein, Vienna

On the 16th, Zubin Mehta conducted the opening concert of the Vienna Philharmonic’s 22-23 Season – Schumann’s Piano Concerto & Bruckner’s Fourth Symphony (‘Romantic’; 1878/81 version). The programme played a further four times, ending tonight, 21st, this time at the Konzerthaus, from where I was expecting a webcast on DG Stage, but seemingly not, albeit Sunday morning’s concert (18th) was broadcast live on Austrian Radio. I am grateful to a member of the Konzerthaus staff for pointing me to the Schumann. (I’ll see if I can find the Bruckner.)

Martha Argerich was the soloist in Schumann’s Piano Concerto. The first movement was fleet and mercurial, with time to breathe for affectionate shaping and bittersweet reminiscence, and, by contrast, with characteristic feather-ruffling attacks, not least in the cadenza. The slow movement was especially lovely, poetic touch and phrasing, and the Finale was driven without being solely about bravura, if a tad messy at times from the pianist.

The Vienna Philharmonic and Zubin Mehta – he recently appeared with the  Australian World Orchestra, and – offered a beautifully judged accompaniment as part of an enjoyable performance, and Austrian Radio’s sound is perfectly fine through the following link. Argerich’s encore is the opening section of Schumann’s Kinderszenen.