In Leeds he played the Brahms 1st Concerto but yesterday it was the massive 2nd. He knows his trade! It was a brilliant performance and of course well backed by the orchestra, the cellist’s role in the Andante receiving special praise from soloist and audience alike. Confession : I am not emotionally moved by Brahms. I find him heavy, very Teutonic, although this performance challenged me to revise my opinion. I see that in May of next year on two consecutive evenings, the B.S.O and Karabits will be performing all four of Brahms’ symphonies.
The concert began with Sibelius’s Valse Triste, part of the incidental music for a play called Kuolema by the Finnish writer Arvid Järnefelt, Sibelius’s brother-in- law.
It was a delightful starter, beautifully played with the delicacy it deserves, Karrabits’ eloquent left hand moulding the shape of the music. The final work after the interval was Dvorak’s 7th Symphony, commissioned by the Royal Philharmonic Society and first performed in 1885. I have a 1957 recording by the Halle and John Barbirolli, and therefore know it well through repeated listenings. I am listening to it now as I write. The performance yesterday evening seemed to concentrate on the darkness and vigour of the score, whereas Barbirolli perhaps stresses the beauty and tenderness.
It was a good evening, finishing at a time when I was able to catch a train that got me home at a respectable time….
but all those empty seats.