Night on the Bare Mountain
Violin Concerto No.1 in G minor, Op.26
Symphony No.5 in E minor, Op.64
Benjamin Schmid (violin)
Reviewed by: William Yeoman
Reviewed: 17 February, 2005
Venue: Royal Festival Hall, London
And the dissonance between conductor and orchestra was only compounded by violinist Benjamin Schmid, who seemed to be applying performance-practice principles to the overt Romanticism of Bruch’s G minor Concerto by throwing every mannerism one could think of at the music without penetrating its substance. Indeed, Schmid’s facial and bodily contortions (which certainly added nothing to the interpretation) were risible. The first movement was emphatic, ersatz heart-on-sleeve, the orchestra participating, so to speak, in the lack of involvement by relegating itself to a mere accompanist. A nice transition to the Adagio served only to expose Schmid’s unvarying and obtrusive vibrato in ‘that’ melody; the finale exhibited a well-judged pulse but remained merely inoffensive at best.
The less said about Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony the better. The first movement exhibited a striving for clarity on the part of Boreyko, but again I found myself in the midst of a climax while wondering exactly how I got there; the Andante cantabile was beset by unimaginative solos and loose ensemble (the pizzicatos in particular); the expected lightness of the Waltz just wasn’t there; and the finale was a strange mixture of matter-of-fact statements, clipped phrases, brash brass and timpani, and an altogether surprising lack of cohesion.
- Philharmonia Orchestra
- Philharmonia Orchestra information:
Freephone 0800 652 6717