Review, Bayerisches Staatsorchester, Barbican Centre by James Ellis 

Photo credits: Mark Allan/Barbican
 out of 5 stars (3 / 5)

A rare visit from the Munich Opera orchestra would be a treat for London based audiences. I missed them the night prior, a selection of Victoria Poleva, Berg and Richard Strauss seemed promising.

In a very Germanic second evening, Wagner’s Prelude to Tristan and Isolde is total romance. Many speculate it’s sex set to music, the passion of the Celtic story cannot be deined. Conductor Vladimir Jurowski swooned his way through, the buttery fluidity highly sensual. This is easy Wagner to access, the famously coined bleeding chunks. As an opener it was very fine.

For Schumann’s Piano Concerto, we saw Yefin Bronfman as soloists. I do find this piece apprachable and easy fair, Yefin had restraint in many ways. Wagner absolutely quoted at least one melody here for his Flying Dutchman. As a concerto the piano gets many flights and retrospection, Schumann’s lovely sence of dynamics are ever present. There is also the feeling of the promise what the piano concerto will become, there’s not really violence here nor harshness. Yefin faired well, but I wasnt wowed. An encore of Chopin pleased most.

I’m hearing Mahler’s 4th a few times this years, the LSO in Bath last. Here, in what is not my favourite of his lies a symphony filled with sleigh bells, sweet melodies, moments of pain and a soprano singing as a child in heaven. A bizarre brew, which does not always hold up for its hour demands. Yet when right, it sparked and transformed, Jurowski proving his fine maestro sway over the mass of players. The boyserious, Austrian air I think about in Mahler is in this, though is done better in past symphonic work. Louise Alder for the saccharin finale also added to proceedings. Her voice matched the tone well, the delight of the child in heaven playing and seeing the saints going about their jobs told through the vivid verse.

A final gift of Bach’s Air on a G String wrapped up well. 

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