For this concert by the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, the audience were transported to Vienna, with a programme of Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert. It was originally to have been conducted by the late great Charles Mackerras; instead, the performance's bustling energy became a tribute to the man and to the tremendous partnership he forged with the OAE. Peerless as Mackerras was in this repertoire, Roy Goodman stepped in with his own irrepressible style, not fearing to make Mozart's G minor Symphony No 40 a robust and darkly dynamic affair. It worked well, though the overly deliberate cadences had a touch of artificiality.

Artur Pizarro was the soloist in Beethoven's Fourth Piano Concerto in G, playing on a period instrument that made one listen anew to the composer's revolutionary approach to the relationship between keyboard and orchestra. Pizarro's touch was tenderly expressive, with a sparkling clarity to the virtuoso passages and a mischievous wit in the finale. The St George's acoustic permitted a wonderful transparency of texture, vindicating the boldness of the venture.

In Schubert's Fourth Symphony in C minor, written when he was 19, Goodman underlined the connections with the composer's predecessors, notably in the slow introduction that gave it the label "Tragic", but also in moments of Mendelssohnian felicity that pointed to the future. Ultimately, the movement most embodying the spirit and authority of Mackerras was the Allegro finale, which had real dramatic fire.


Rian Evans

The GuardianTramp

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