Marc-Andre Hamelin (credit score Sim Cannety-Clarke)
Ryan Wigglesworth is a kind of musicians
who’re virtually excellent in each manner. The best factor to return out of
Sheffield, musically, since Sterndale Bennett, he’s pianist, conductor,
educational and composer.
So with him as Artist in Affiliation the Hallé
get numerous choices. Final evening we witnessed two of them: him as composer, and
as conductor answerable for his personal work in addition to that of others. His Piano Concerto
was premiered on the BBC Proms in 2019 with the sensible Marc-André Hamelin as
soloist, and Hamelin was right here in Manchester to play it once more.
I can’t faux that I’d count on it to
change into a preferred favorite (the entire concept of concerto as solo showpiece with
huge tunes, originating in vocal aria varieties and making nice field workplace within the
19th and pre-Second World Warfare 20th centuries, appears to
have reasonably run out of steam extra lately), however it gave each pianist and
orchestra lots to consider – and it rewards its viewers with 4 different
actions which not often lose concision in idea or expression.
The third of 4 actions (the place the
orchestra is decreased to strings and harp and the piano sings a Polish people
track, with ornamental imitation of itself, each larger and fainter) is in lots of
methods its centre of gravity – in all probability its longest part when it comes to pure period.
Earlier than it there’s a short, prelude-like motion with long-breathed string
phrases after which a Scherzo with virtually helter-skelter perpetual movement from the
piano; after it there’s a finale extra in conventional piano-v-orchestra-battle
fashion, which ends because the piano “wanders” (Wigglesworth’s personal phrase) to an in depth
on a single, very low, word – probably not destined to provide any roar of
Two of the concerto’s actions have the
similar names as two of the items of incidental music Mendelssohn wrote for A
Midsummer Night time’s Dream in 1843, which fashioned the opening of the live performance
(performed within the order they’d come within the play): each a Scherzo and a Nocturne,
which had been each performed because the little jewels they’re by the Hallé underneath Ryan
Wigglesworth’s baton (and led by Paul Barritt). He has a peaceful and exact stick
approach which on this event gave rise to delicate, full of life, dynamically
versatile and exactly articulated enjoying, stuffed with charming touches in part-playing
stability and first foot-tappingly joyful after which gloriously wealthy and romantic.
And at last there was Schumann’s Symphony
no. 2: romanticism of a form that adopted very quickly afterwards however with larger
architectural ambitions. British writers of Schumann’s personal era used the
phrase “Schumannism” as a one-word cypher for over-wrought expression and neuroticism
in music (as they thought-about it), however Ryan Wigglesworth knew methods to deal with its
idiom: the waxing and waning emotional depth of the primary motion grew to become a
construction of slowly evolving optimism, regardless of shocks and surprises alongside the
manner, and its unorthodox finale appeared to maintain slowing to a halt, as if uncertain
methods to discover the proper way of thinking, earlier than it instantly acquired there.
However the third, Adagio espressivo,
motion is what makes this symphony value listening to, actually: it’s a track with out
phrases to start with and finish, and there was, as within the Mendelssohn, pretty
enjoying from the Hallé’s gifted wind principals.