Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Depth Charges

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Depth Charges

Article excerpt


PROM 31 Royal Albert Hall * (GOOD)

THE Russian viola player Yuri Bashmet indulged the cold, m o rose character of his instrument in last night's prom. Hindemith, who played it, wrote Trauermusik for solo viola and strings to commemorate the death of George V in 1936. Bash met summoned grey ghosts. The ensemble shivered with each falling phrase. It was a pity the chorale tune - Old Hundredth in three-time - lacked definition.

Britten, who also played viola, felt instinctively that a tribute to the maudlin lutenist and songwriter John Dowland must be played on one. The ensemble rendered the two swooning Dowland quotes in Lachrymae like limp Elizabethans.

This time, Bashmet shivered along the shaking demisemiquavers in Variation 10.

The beat might have been less spongy. The waltz wanted proper corners. Much of it was too quiet for the building. Could you hear in the gallery?

Britten's youthful Two Portraits includes one of himself aged 18 - rigorously classical, sombrely rhythmic, dutifully contrapuntal, amazingly precocious - playing the viola. …

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