Divertimento for Strings
Piano Concerto No.22 in E flat, K482
Three Nocturnes, Op.9
Serenade for Strings, Op.48
Piers Lane (piano)
London Festival Orchestra
Reviewed by: Andrew Maisel
Reviewed: 14 May, 2009
Venue: Cadogan Hall, London
Piers Lane’s Mozart was a sparkling affair, a performance of real authority and a distinctly muscular one, freshly and alertly supported by Pople and the LFO, the first movement driven along, propelled by a strongly rhythmic pulse. Hummel’s cadenzas – used in the first and third movements – were unleashed with virtuosity. The Andante, set in a minor key, provides a melancholic contrast to the outer movements. Here one could have wished for a little more lyricism to counteract Lane’s no-nonsense approach, but the tone was suitably dark with particularly fine support from the winds. The finale was nicely relaxed with the dance-like refrain delicately pointed and fully of mischievous intent.
After the interval Lane returned to play the “Solo Piano Interlude” which turned out to be Three Nocturnes, Chopin’s Opus 9. Lane’s playing was by turns sensitive and understated if perhaps somewhat pallid at times and the music would have benefited from a little more rubato.
Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for Strings was a disappointment, the 17-piece LFO sounding particularly undernourished and thin in tone. Ensemble wasn’t always precise , particularly in the second movement ‘Waltz’, which danced awkwardly and followed a first movement that was driven far too hard. The ‘Elegia’ was slightly better focused with a little more refinement and colour, but the finale was choppy.