Thursday, December 22, 2011

REVIEW: Frank Peter Zimmermann with HKPO

Hong Kong Cultural Center Concert Hall, Saturday December 17

Lu Jia has withdrawn from the concert and guest conductor Andreas Delfs has agreed to step in at short notice. However, what this meant was that the original Dvorak’s Scherzo Capriccioso and Brahms’ Serenade No.2 was replaced with Brahms’ Symphony No. 3. The bad news was that I prefer the Dvorak. The good news was at least it was Brahms No. 3, while I am not a huge Brahms fan; No. 3 is actually one of the better Brahms symphony for me.

Heroic and at the same time meditative; with the soaring start and the fading end, the Third Symphony is a masterpiece but quite difficult to bring it off. With Andreas Delfs conducting, the first movement started the “motto theme” F, A flat and F (frei aber froh / free but happy) with robust pace and tone, but suffered imbalance in 2nd movement. The 3rd movement was delivered with great care and the result has a beautiful dark gentleness quality to it. The fourth movement was a tad underpowered, though the quiet ending was attractively managed.

On the other hand, Zimmermann playing Beethoven was thoroughly enjoyable. His interpretation challenges the listener to listen but not to understand. It sounded fresh yet everything seems to make sense. The cadenza in the first movement was stunning, but how the orchestra seemed to join and wrap the soloist was awe-inspiring. Andreas Delfs was most wise to know when to take control and when to let go, producing a voluptuous performance with full sound in all the right places, while Zimmermann’s infallible technique was dazzlingly showcased in the final movement… an absolutely remarkable performance!


Zimmermann plays Beethoven
16&17-12-2011 Fri & Sat 8PM
Hong Kong Cultural Centre Concert Hall

BRAHMS: Symphony No. 3
BEETHOVEN: Violin Concerto

Andreas Delfs, conductor
Frank Peter Zimmermann, violin

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