A mixed experience. Strong playing from the strings, a beautifully rich tone from Capucon, but some difficulties with balance which didn’t really get corrected until the last work in the programme.
Capucon plays with a warm tone throughout this mercurial material. Sometimes the orchestra swamps in the fortissimos. The generous acoustic in the Grimaldi Forum highlights some moments of great precision in the opening movement – one particular chord with triangle was exquisite.
But the balance between soloist and orchestra wasn’t consistent and didn’t favour the solo line necessarily. It did settle down towards the end of the first movement.
The second movement in comparison is musically difficult to follow. The material creeps along, the underlying narrative structure of the movement difficult to decipher. It felt like what seemed like an unedifying work on a first listen hadn’t necessarily been given due attention to underline its central ideas.
The battle between sections of the orchestra seemed to continue Bartok’s Concerto for Orchestra. It’s a well-known work brimming with
Consistently throughout this performance and in Bartok Violin No. 2 the strings delivered in the generous acoustic, but this was at the expense of the woodwind section who seemed to struggle cutting across the band.
This I took to be down to the conductor Péter Eötvös who (after a similar experience watching him conduct the Philharmonia recently) I remain unconvinced about in terms of direction. It’s difficult from an audience members point of view to know 100% what a conductor provides an orchestra. We the audience don’t get the full picture – only the back or the side.
There were moments when it felt like details like dynamic contrast,
This was the case during the fourth movement when the counter-melody in the pizzicato celli almost seemed to go overlooked. Later in the third movement, declamatory statements didn’t appear quite as doom-laden as I’ve heard in other performances. The beginning of phrases seemed to lack the attack I’ve come to expect
It made me wonder whether
Credit where its undoubtedly due though: the bassoons in the second movement were something to behold. And whilst the dynamic range of the string section wasn’t as marked as I personally would have liked, there was simply no doubt that the section delivered, especially on the G-string.
Bartok’s second violin concerto is immediately more interesting in terms of material. The first movement is more cohesive – Bartok’s juxtaposition of material combined with seamless transitions makes the argument easier to follow and the end product more satisfying to listen to.
The balance between the orchestra and soloist was strikingly different too.
Capucon is captivating. He has an air of the Candyman from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory about him. Proud, determined, and sensitive with
The second movement confirms Bartok’s material in this work makes this concerto far more compelling. Exquisite playing. Capucon’s tone rung out again, every note ‘bang on’ every time, positioned right in the