Music review: Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
Edinburgh International Festival Scotsman review: Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra at the Usher Hall, reviewed by Susan Nickalls
THERE’S a sense of undertaking a journey in all Mahler’s symphonies, none more so than the ninth, his final complete symphony. However, this particular outing did not start well for the orchestra and conductor Daniel Gatti. The opening andante with its wistful theme lacked focus and any sense of tonal balance. With a 70-strong string section, the excellent woodwinds were frequently overwhelmed in this chaotic jumble. Some nice brass contributions helped bring some integrity to the Landlers and waltzes that make up the second movement.
It was only in the following rondo-Burleske, where Mahler attempts to deconstruct the very essence of music itself as his whole soundworld feels like its going to implode, that the orchestra finally found its feet. There were some brilliant offerings from the trumpets and clarinets, the only section of the orchestra that appeared to be enjoying themselves.
Conducting without a score, Gatti at last seemed to get the attention of the strings for the finale. The intensity of the sweeping lyricism that powers the string sound in the adagio, brought some much-needed equilibrium to this frustratingly uneven performance.
Originally published in The Scotsman