Krystian Zimerman at the end of Beethoven 4 with Simon Rattle and the LSO.
They certainly had fun this evening together.
We a little less as we were not let totally into their secret world.
In their real enjoyment and involvement of making music together they took the very backbone out of this, the most poetic but also the most precise of Beethoven’s concertos.
In fact it requires just that almost clockwork precision allied to the most poetic soul,one of the most elusive things to achieve in the concert hall
Some wonderful things of course .Zimermans beauty of sound reminiscent of his mentor Rubinstein and Rattles inquisitive energy like a modern day Toscanini.
But right from the beginning with Zimerman appearing with Rattle for the Unanswered Question……what could it mean ?
Infact the opening of the Beethoven was mixed without a break from the end of the Ives .
Searching for some new link and so it continued throughout but without that wondrous sense of line so essential in Beethoven.
Even some ragged edges are an essential part of Beethoven`s character and it was this that I suppose made this performance not entirely successful as a whole.
Wonderful to see these two white haired lads having such fun and it was that that was so unusual to see in this old warhorse and it led,of course, to a well deserved standing ovation for trying perhaps too hard to be original and astonished as Beethoven’s audience must truly have been in 1806.
In the end inspiring,of course,but on this occasion not totally convincing .
After the interval,on the other hand , was a totally inspired performance of Rachmaninov’s 2nd Symphony.
Not since Stokowski has the LSO sounded so glorious.
The sumptuous rich ,mellow string sound of a Philadelphia or Vienna Philharmonic and the sheer rhythmic energy and drive of the Cleveland or Chicago orchestras all this from the magic hands of Simon Rattle intent on making music with these marvellous musicians before him .
With the cellos and violas at his feet and the first and second violins either side there was this wonderfully rich sound that seemed to come from deep down inside the very body of the Symphony.
And the cheers that Simon Rattle received spontaneously from a rapt audience at the end , he was happy to share, with the superb clarinettist who he climbed up to embrace, as we all would have liked to, after such wonderful heartfelt playing.
Infact is that not the sign of a great conductor to allow each player to share in the music making and to be made to feel that each player is essential to the whole allowing them the freedom to give totally of themselves as is so rarely the case in professional orchestras under lesser mortals .
A totally exhausting evening for all concerned but what music making and how lucky we were to be part of it tonight.
Welcome back to London Simon you have been greatly missed