I had thought this CBSO concert was due sometime next year but noticed it advertised in the Radio Times. I had seen a relay of Thomas Dausgaard conducting the Nielsen Violin Concerto from the BBC Proms and thought it a remarkable performance although I forget who the soloist was (Nicolaj Znaider?) I decided to take myself to Symphony Hall. This was broadcast on Radio 3 and the concert can be heard on line for a limited period.
Dausgaard’s conducting style appeared strange and at first disconcerting. He dispenses with a baton and uses both hands to effect in bringing in players. In the Brahms/Haydn Variations that opened the concert he didn’t continually beat time, but just indicated entries and dynamics- a bit like lighting the touch paper on a firework and standing back. I thought this was most effective in the Sibelius Violin Concerto with soloist Gil Shaham. I often felt this work somewhat jaded, preferring the Nielsen Concerto, but not this performance. Hearing the opening live was quite magical with virtuosic soloist against shimmering hushed strings. He is a formidable player, but it is interestin tosee he is still portrayed as if a newly discovered artist when he has been around since the early nineteen nineties!
Nielsen’s Third Symphony, the “Espansiva” completed the concert. The work is full of melodic invention and energy (characteristic of Nielsen in fact. Only when you get to the bitter mood of the sixth do things change). Sitting at the back of the orchestra in the choir seats the counterpoint can seem to dominate. I need to listen to the radio version (see above). Nevertheless the performance was well controlled, and the climax of the finale as thrilling as I have heard of this work. I remember Klemperer and the Philharmonia in the 1960s building the finale of Brahm’s First Symphony and Bruckner’s mighty Eighth in a similar fashion. I am used to the timpani onslaught at the end of the Fourth Symphony, but here they made their mark too!