Magazine article Musical Opinion

Brussels Philharmonic Orchestra/ Stéphane Denève

Magazine article Musical Opinion

Brussels Philharmonic Orchestra/ Stéphane Denève

Article excerpt

Usher Hall

In the duration of Denève's seven-year tenure at the RSNO he introduced a rich vein of programming during a memorable period in recent musical history in Scotland. He also likes to communicate with his audiences and the colourful Frenchman spent the first five minutes explaining his choice of music all in his unequivocal style.

Denève is a fine conductor and here he revealed that his new orchestra can be on a par with the best in Edinburgh's Usher Hall on October 2. In Beethoven's Pastoral Symphony the strings were eloquent, employing beautiful phrasing with a bright sound, all in a conventional setting, and while there is something of the old style conductor about him, he allowed the strings to almost deafen the woodwind who struggled sometimes to be heard. The invocation of nature was marvellously executed. with the flute of Lieve Schuermans and oboe of Jons Van de Hauwe both excellent, and the horns produced a rousing tone of rustic harmony. The 'storm' section was marvellously played in a refreshing performance beating some of the often routine performances of this popular symphony.

Two short pieces by the French composer Guillaume Connesson made up the central part of this concert either side of the interval and Flammenschrift, dedicated to Beethoven, was striking for its opening stridency and played with a brisk pace, it sounded like Shostakovich with the brass, percussion and woodwind producing shrieking harmonies, this was like film music, perhaps from Hitchcock, in the subsiding notes, and piercing accents, and there was perhaps something of Poulenc's Pacific231 too. …

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