Wigmore Hall, London
Late Strauss and early Schoenberg make a piquant pairing – Strauss's glorious rekindling of the dying embers of tonality alongside the very music that had undermined the tonal system 30 years earlier. And in the four works that Vladimir Jurowski and instrumentalists from the London Philharmonic selected, the two composers combined to create a wonderful programme, intelligently planned and superbly executed.
Strauss framed the evening. The LPO strings started off with a supple, burnished account of the sextet prelude to his final opera, Capriccio, and the concert ended with the Four Last Songs, sung by Soile Isokoski with a reduced scoring for 14 players. Schoenberg provided the meat in the sandwich. Jurowski conducted a pungent account of the First Chamber Symphony, underlining the way the music makes an expressive virtue of the confines of its single-movement form, and an equally deft one of Pierrot Lunaire. The soloist was Allison Bell, who made such an impression in Peter Eötös's opera at Glyndebourne two years ago; her performance was superbly judged, achieving a much more equal balance between speech and song in Schoenberg's sprechgesang than is usual.
Yet balance in the Wigmore Hall was problematic. Jurowski positioned the soloists behind the instrumentalists; it more or less worked in Pierrot Lunaire, where the voice is sometimes one strand of the instrumental argument, but not in the Four Last Songs. Too often, Isokoski's gloriously golden tone was obscured by the overloaded textures of James Ledger's arrangement, which never let enough air into the songs.
"Our DSO to Go app has not only helped our live webcasts reach tremendous success around the globe, but has been an accessible sales channel for many first-time concertgoers without prior ticket or contribution history."