Where does all the freshness go? So many professional orchestras (Birmingham being a notable exception) and freelance scratch pick-up outfits seem to have lost the gift of communicating joy in music-making.
It’s left to youth orchestras to remind us just how precious a gift this is: it’s not a job, it’s a portal to wonderment.
And wow, didn’t the Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester radiate such life-enhancement on Tuesday.
It’s not so long ago that the Norwegian pianist Leif Ove Andsnes was himself a young buck. Now he distils a wisdom in performance which spread to the whole orchestra in a deeply poetic account of Beethoven’s Fourth Piano Concerto.
This music is built upon dialogue, an intimacy between equals, and Andsnes’ well-weighted chording, rippling figuration and total awareness of the work’s understated beauty could not help but inspire these youngsters under the wise, equally understated baton of Herbert Blomstedt.
Blomstedt, so self-effacing in his conducting, conjured a compelling account of Bruckner’s Fourth Symphony, taking these young players through an alpine journey of dread, awe, temporary refuge, shrine-based contemplation, and eventual affirmation.
Every texture was so well-balanced: violas brought to the fore in the string-cushion where appropriate, woodwind solos so appealing, brass both noble and thunderous.