Prom 33: Grieg, Sibelius, Schumann and Hindemith with Davidsen and Gerhardt
What a mixture for the 33th Prom! Nordic music + German romanticism + German anti-romanticism. And a vocal soloist for the first part of the concert and a cello one for the second one.
And what a success! Things didn’t start quite well in the initial pieces of the Peer Gynt selection: Storgårds was conducting too straight to the point with too much energy without letting the lyrical aspect of the score to arise. But then the magnificent Lise Davidsen came into the stage to sing vocal parts of Peer Gynt that are not usually played because only the orchestral suites are usually programmed. And what a voice! AMAZING. Beautiful voice, very rich and powerful. With *Sibelius** symphonic poem Luonnotar Davidsen spread out all her narrative powers making what you could call perfect singing. First half finished with a energetic performance of Karelia Suite also by Sibelius. After the previous shock of listening for the first time to Lise this sounded to me a little less transcendent.
Second part. Schumann’s strange cello concert. From inside the patterns of a romantic work Schumann breaks all the rules for a concerto. As every other Schumann orchestral work this is really hard to play for the orchestra, and the BBC Philharmonic did it quite well. But even better did Alban Gerhardt playing the cello part. He brought all the lyricism and fireworks from his part while keeping a perfect dialog with the orchestra. The accompanied cadenza was just perfect. The funny moment of the concert was when Alban Gerhardt had troubles with his cello end pin and held the cello on the air while still playing it to re-accommodate without losing any note. AMAZING (yes, second time I use that word and with emphasis, as this concert was it).
Concert finished with Mathis der Maler symphony, one of the top works by Hindemith. Storgårds perfect conducting technique suits very well this work which plays with harmonies though orchestral fluctuations. Perfectly exposed and very enjoyable.