Violin Concerto in D, Op.61
Symphony No.40 in G minor, K550
Chloë Hanslip (violin)
Academy of St Martin in the Fields
Reviewed by: Colin Anderson
Reviewed: 28 July, 2007
Venue: Barbican Hall, London
It was though livelier than parts of the Beethoven had been. Hrůša set a plodding tempo for the orchestral introduction that was dispiriting and felt tentative, and the musicians’ execution suggested lethargy. This certainly wasn’t a ‘historically aware’ performance – and maybe the better for it – but there does at least need to be a pulse apparent Beethoven’s first movement! Chloë Hanslip’s view of the first movement was Romantic and somewhat ‘received’ in interpretation but with not enough ‘experience’ to sustain such a time-taken approach or the reveries of introspection that were lulled into. Her feistier outbursts, a little unkempt technically, had a waspish flourish that enlivened proceeding and showed both her confidence and a willingness to stand up and be counted in this most demanding of works. She attacked the non-attributed cadenza (it was most likely the one by Kreisler) with gusto.
The other two movements were notably more successful. The Larghetto was sublimely shaped by the orchestra, Hanslip maintaining the mood of rapt tranquillity (enhanced by Robert Plane’s clarinet and Gavin McNaughton’s bassoon), and which would have been even more effective but for the indulgences of the first movement. Best of all was the finale, the moderate tempo perfect for musical articulation and bouncy bravado, wit and fancy to the fore from all the performers. It will be interesting to see how Chloë Hanslip tackles this concerto in forthcoming years.