Review: Jonthan Nott / CBSO, at Symphony Hall, Birmingham
Solihull-born, the conductor Jonathan Nott has achieved a huge international reputation, but for some reason is still comparatively little-known in his home country.
This should certainly change after Wednesday's concert when Nott returned to his roots, conducting for the first time in Symphony Hall, and leading the CBSO through a mightily impressive account of Bruckner's Symphony no.4.
After last Saturday's unforgettable Lohengrin under Andris Nelsons, the orchestra certainly has Wagnerian blood currently coursing through its veins, and all the Wagnerian influences in Bruckner's gripping symphonic account of an alpine journey, past shrines and inns towards a triumphant arrival, were sumptuously conveyed.
Horns were properly to the fore, triumphing over just a few bumps, and lower strings provided a sonorous cushion.
And Nott paced the paragraphs of this music, sometimes crunchingly tension-building (one could almost equate this cut-off expectation with deferred sexual climaxes, though I doubt celibate Bruckner would have known much about those), and ultimately triumphant, with unerring deliberation and wonderful certainty.
Totally diametrically opposed, Dutilleux' Tout un monde lointain, brought equally magical listening, though thoughts of Messiaen mixed with Britten, and resonances of the Walton Cello Concerto were never far away.
Jean-Guihen Queyras was the elegant cello soloist, his tones urbane and mellow, his articulation sparkling, and Nott and a huge CBSO collaborated attentively.
But I wondered how necessary were the hooks from Baudelaire poetry, and, despite all the fastidiousness of its writing, how much was the lasting significance of this piece.