Second night of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestras in this year Proms. This time, totally Viennese repertoire. Concert opened with Brahms’ Variations on a Theme by Haydn that BBC called “Variations on the St Anthony Chorale” because they are very smart and follow all the musicological criteria, not that they are snobs, not at all. Perfect performance, with a superb Michael Tilson Thomas emphasizing the more expressive and joyful parts of the score as a perfect introduction for it was coming next.
After the somehow disappointing version of Mahler’s 4th by Gatti and RCO the Viennese came to proof which is the best European orchestra. They didn’t include any other work in the programme, just Mahler’s 6th. Harding arrived London after conducting this very same symphony twice with two different orchestras in the previous week. That is crazy and really difficult to do. On his side was the fact that the two previous ones, the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra and the Orchestre de Paris, are his orchestras and the VPO is… well, easy to guide for a Mahler.