Symphony No.85 in B flat (La Reine)
Piano Concerto No.19 in F, K.459
Symphony No.4 in C minor (Tragic)
Mitsuko Uchida (piano)
New York Philharmonic
Sir Colin Davis
Reviewed by: Victor Wheeler
Reviewed: 24 March, 2007
Venue: Avery Fisher Hall, New York City
Colin Davis, of course, is an authoritative interpreter of Mozart; the orchestra was in perfect partnership and synchrony with Mitsuko Uchida. Indeed the orchestra held center-stage for numerous bars of music. Even before Uchida began playing, her presence was felt; she did not sit quietly at the piano but instead swayed to the orchestral sounds while keeping tempo with her feet. Once she did begin the mood turned electric. Her dexterity became evident as she elicited the piano’s various and varied voices effortlessly and gracefully, and where necessary, resolution. Throughout, there were many magical moments. She played Mozart’s cadenzas. Sir Colin Davis admirably blended the superb musical skills and intelligent ethos of the New York Philharmonic with the incandescent musicianship of Uchida.
Like his ‘Unfinished’ and ‘Great C major’ symphonies, Schubert never heard his self-named ‘Tragic’; the public premiere took place 21 years after his death at age 31. Even though the symphony is written in a minor key and the first part of the first movement is an Adagio molto, the main body of the first movement is an Allegro vivace full of boisterous and heroic music. A lyrical motif is evident in the Andante second movement, pushed forward by the strings and oboes in dialogue with each other. The conversation that results is one of beautiful melody and ethereal charm with the winds and horns adding their lustrous voices, too. The Minuet movement was played robustly while convincingly contrasting with the lyric Trio section. The Allegro fourth movement is related to the first movement in its thematic content and power. The New York Philharmonic expertly brought forth all the symphony’s thematic and musical connections, a cohesive whole held together by the insightful conducting of Sir Colin Davis.
- The performance was preceded by ones on March 22 and 23
- New York Philharmonic