Vienna Tonkünstler Orchestra and John Lill

…Play Beethoven

Part of Birmingham International Concert Season 2013/14

Sunday 2nd March, 7:30pm

Symphony Hall

Vienna Tonkünstler Orchestra

Andrés Orozco-Estrada conductor

John Lill piano

Beethoven Symphony No 6, Pastoral 39’
Piano Concerto No 4 34’
Symphony No 5 31’

Orchestra’s encore – Johann Strauss – Polka Leichtes Blut

John Lill’s very personal relationship with the music of Beethoven is one of the marvels of the modern concert scene. So it’s wonderful that as he approaches his seventieth birthday he returns to Symphony Hall – where he famously played all five Beethoven concertos in 2004. It’s the centrepiece of a programme inspired by Beethoven’s own famous 1808 benefit concert – played by an orchestra with the Viennese tradition running in its very blood.

http://www.thsh.co.uk

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Review by Diane Parkes, BehindTheArras:

Click here for full review

…     “Colombian conductor Andres Orozco-Estrada coaxed every nuance of Beethoven’s music out of the Vienna Tonkunstler, ensuring just the correct balance between dramatic overload and rippling melody.

To begin with, we had the mighty composer in playful mode with the Pastoral Symphony No 6. Its light-hearted frolics were deftly thrown into the air and then caught by the orchestra as they ricocheted back and forth between birdsong, country revels and the whole world of nature – including the powerful storm of movement IV.

John Lill then took his seat for the Piano Concerto No 4. One of today’s foremost pianists, Lill is internationally renowned for his skills with Beethoven concertos and this proved to be no exception. There were moments when the entire audience seemed to hold its breath waiting for the next key stroke while Lill also managed apparently effortless interplay with the orchestra.”     …

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Review by Norman Stinchcombe, Birmingham Post:

Click here for full review

…     “The claim that the famous motto theme represents fate knocking at the door is spurious – but it surely deserved greater gravitas than it received here. The rest of the movement whizzed past in the same way: fast, slick and rather soulless.

The andante fared better, elegant and rather balletic and the basses impressed with their galumphing gruff humour in the trio. The scherzo wasn’t sufficiently edgy and sinister and so the impact of the finale’s transformation into blazing sunlit C major was diminished since what preceded it simply wasn’t weighty and dark enough.

Beethoven’s Pastoral symphony alternated between being becalmed, with a sometimes sluggish scene by the brook, and frenetically fast. The merrymaking peasants would need a dose of amphetamines to dance at that pace. Orozco-Estrada conjured up a convincing storm but the finale was devoid of spiritual uplift and we were offered the merely pretty instead.”     …

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