Tuesday, 10 June 2008

NOT: Alfred Brendel and London Symphony Orchestra, Barbican

The legendary pianist Alfred Brendel is retiring aged 77 this year and he's an old man with young man's hands. He brought a golden liquidity and smooth elegance to Mozart's beautiful C minor piano concerto but I think sitting in the second back row meant that the subtle nuances of interpretation were lost. Vlad, who had attended Brendel's first concert with the same program, was very disappointed with this performance. In the second half, nine double basses, two timpani sets, a bass drum, giant symbols, nine french horns, a wind machine, cowbells and a large sheet of metal were let loose for Strauss' Alpine Symphony. While the LSO probably played it very well, it was a brassy, strident and incoherent work which gave me a headache. In terms of programme music with similar themes, Beethoven's Pastoral Symphony and Mendelssohn's Hebrides Overture do it better.

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