RICHARD Strauss’s monumental Alpine Symphony was magnificently performed.
About a hundred players were involved both on stage and off.
They bowed, plucked, blew, banged and rattled – on everything from Wagner tubas to a hecklephone and wind-machine – as if their lives depended on it.
With Andris Nelsons as our guide it was as if we had trekked up and down the alpine peak ourselves. He ensured we lived every minute of the journey.
Here was a sunrise that made you squint; a thunderstorm which stirred the hair and a shower where the raindrops were almost palpable.
Strauss, a masterful orchestrator, leavened the magniloquence with moments of quiet and utmost tenderness such as the beautifully played oboe solo when we reached the summit.
Mozart’s Symphony No.33 is a miniature in comparison but it’s a little gem whose facets were polished to perfection here, especially its witty dancing finale.
The young German pianist Martin Helmchen was outstanding.
His crisp articulation, imaginative phrasing, and a few discreetly added grace notes, made this dark minor key drama a compelling experience.