The Organ

Prom 62

Royal Albert Hall
September 1st

On paper this was a comfortably old-fashioned piece of programme planning but the quality of performance proved that the tried and trusted can often prove their worth. Nikolaj Znaider showed total mastery of Beethoven's Violin Concerto, creating a gentle nobility in the opening Allegro as his solo violin eased its way through the orchestral writing. The Larghetto was reflective without being too introspective and often the tone was reduced to a whisper. The final Rondo danced with delight, and highlighted a beautiful solo bassoon from Gabriele Gombi. Throughout, Colin Davis' approach had been light, gentle and surprisingly relaxed: indulgent rather than simply slow but never less than beautiful.

After the interval we heard Sibelius' Second Symphony. It was difficult to believe this was the same orchestra. Where the Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester had, without recourse to original instruments, given a thoroughly classical reading of the Beethoven, they now produced amazing romantic panache for Sibelius, brass blazing, woodwind with true cutting edge and massed romantic strings. It was a total delight and the audience rose to the occasion. The concert was billed as a Family Music event though there did not seem to be a lot of young people present. A pity, for anyone hearing these works at this quality would have a bench mark for the rest of their lives.