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Singapore Symphony Orchestra – Claus Peter Flor (conductor), Christian Blackshaw (piano)

Esplanade Concert Hall/Last Friday

The Singapore Symphony Orchestra’s (SSO) 2017/18 season drew to a detailed with two common company – German conductor Claus Peter Flor and British pianist Christian Blackshaw – becoming a member of the orchestra.

Blackshaw performed Beethoven’s Fourth Piano Concerto, a serene, intimate and barely reserved concerto that matches the soloist’s temperament, whereas Anton Bruckner’s last symphony was given a heroic efficiency below Flor’s path.

Blackshaw’s performances, since his triumphant return to the concert corridor early this decade, have been greeted with acclaim for his or her passionate and delicate musicianship.

Likewise, his earlier performances in Singapore with the orchestra and in chamber recitals raised expectations for this night’s efficiency.

The light opening solo piano chords of the concerto had been performed with nice sensitivity and had been adopted by lush, elegant orchestral tones from the orchestra.

However, an uncommon missed observe from Blackshaw within the opening passage telegraphed a way of unease that by no means absolutely cleared. It was a extremely fluent efficiency of the primary motion, however not sterling and blemish-free.

The brief second motion was a triumph. Beethoven pits dramatic, operatic strings towards a plaintive solo piano half and Blackshaw’s delicate, measured contact oozed the lyricism classical music followers admire.

The third motion abounded with wit and appeal. While there have been moments of brilliance from Blackshaw and the SSO’s winds, there have been, as soon as once more, events when, regardless of Flor’s efforts, soloist and orchestra weren’t in unison.

Completing the night was Bruckner’s final symphony, the Symphony No. 9. The composer labored heroically in his last days on this work “to my dear God”. Only three of 4 actions had been accomplished. Even so, the dimensions and complexity of what he did full are clear to the listener.

Flor is a famend interpreter of Bruckner.

The first motion, marked “solemn and mysterious”, was directed with full conviction. The SSO responded admirably, with successive waves of crescendo and big climaxes, adopted by hushed, contemplative interludes.

The second motion, a turbulent, full of life scherzo, was the spotlight of the night, with Flor pushing its insistent, pulsating rhythm to the very restrict. Timpanist Christian Schioler was sensible in his half, delivering enormous crescendos that retained a sinister undertone.

The symphony ended with the gradual third motion, which the composer titled Farewell To Life. Flor managed the complexity and emotion of the motion effectively, proper as much as its quiet ending.

The problem of Bruckner’s Symphony No. 9 is that, after nearly an hour of intense, heartfelt efficiency, the work feels incomplete.

This is just not sudden. If solely Bruckner had just a few extra days or perhaps weeks, who is aware of how his last motion would have unfolded.

This night would have been an ideal event to carry out one of many well-regarded reconstructions of the ultimate motion primarily based on Bruckner’s substantial sketches, such because the Samale-Phillips-Cohrs-Mazzuca model accomplished in 2012 and recorded by Sir Simon Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra.

For all of the pitfalls related to performing a posthumously accomplished work, this may have introduced the season to a extra “complete” shut.

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