Violin Concerto in D, Op.61
Symphony No.6 in E flat minor, Op.111
Augustin Hadelich (violin)
Detroit Symphony Orchestra
Reviewed by: Colin Anderson
Reviewed: 25 April, 2014
Venue: Orchestra Hall, Detroit, Michigan
The platform was full for the Prokofiev, arguably the greatest of his eight Symphonies (there are two versions of the Fourth, Opuses 47 and 112) but the First (‘Classical’) and Fifth find the most favour, and your reviewer would never want to lose sight of the Third and Seventh. Litton moved the first movement of the Second World War-scarred Sixth on apace (the playing a little unsettled, if with fine contributions from first-desk viola and horn), then made ample contrast with the bittersweet second subject that becomes ever-more poignant before the music takes off seismically, ablaze and throbbing, if slightly played-down here. The opening to the Largo was also just a little less than arresting, if lucidly detailed, the music’s yearning heroism well brought out though, so too the tick-tocking Cinderella-like ballet interlude, but the movement seemed overlong on this occasion. The finale purposefully strides, jauntily even, optimism is in the air, although with doubts remaining, but Prokofiev knows just how to lull us into a false sense of security – for all the jubilation (vividly unleashed here) there is still pain to express (very intense) and the turncoat coda with its brutal dissonance makes clear that things are not right, and may never be, although Litton rather sidestepped this knife-twisting pay-off.