Classical: Calm after a Storm Philharmonia Orchestra / Kurt Sanderling RFH, London
Seckerson, Edward, The Independent (London, England)
THE PHILHARMONIA Orchestra have a new "Honorary Member", the first since Otto Klemperer - which is to say that it means something. And yet, what percentage of the public at large will ever have heard of Kurt Sanderling? That's significant. That tells you something about his career, his priorities, his brand of music making. It's never been about him; his way has always been the quiet way. He's 86 now, and has the look - the big handsome face, the thick wavy hair - of an erstwhile matinee idol. The walk to the podium may look like it's getting longer, but once in place, once in command of the role he knows best - that of empowering his players - the years visibly fall away.
He seemed literally to bestride the tempestuous opening tutti of Brahms' D minor Piano Concerto, a rejuvenated colossus pulling himself up to his full height, swaying with the music's prevailing winds. The force was in the colour - horns stopped-down to their elemental low registers, long bows in the strings, substantial tone as opposed to volume. With the pellucid second subject - the still centre, the eye of the storm, if you like - such was the luminosity, the rarified quality of the pianissimo he achieved, it was as if we were somehow now inside the piece, hearing it from the composer's perspective. Pianist Andras Schiff heard it that way, too. His reading was more about spiritual than physical storm and stress. The great double-trill and double-octave fusillades were never …
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Publication information: Article title: Classical: Calm after a Storm Philharmonia Orchestra / Kurt Sanderling RFH, London. Contributors: Seckerson, Edward - Author. Newspaper title: The Independent (London, England). Publication date: September 29, 1998. Page number: 10. © 2009 The Independent - London. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.
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