02 December, 2011

Concert Review: Hong Kong Sinfonietta - Tharaud - Liebreich

Concert Review: Hong Kong Sinfonietta - Tharaud - Liebreich

October 14, City Hall
Hong Kong Sinfonietta - Alexandre Tharaud - Alexander Liebreich

This concert of the two Alexander's opened with Bach's Keyboard Concerto No. 5, BWV1056, accompanied by a much reduced orchestra who played standing. Tharaud played without much color and, together with the very lean sound of the small ensemble, the result was not at all genial. In my opinion, a larger ensemble and lusher playing would have better served the piece if indeed a piano is the chosen medium.

Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 9, K271, fared much better. Tharaud's playing was more varied and expressive, if just a little too precious at times. The larger orchestra accompanied stylishly under Liebreich's guidance, and there was indeed a sense of dialogue, which made it enjoyable.

After the first half, it was apparent the German conductor, well regarded in Munich and elsewhere, is a star. But that doesn't prepare one for what followed, a superbly crafted Schubert's Symphony No 9. The long work was well laid out, tightly argued and surprisingly very well played. Perhaps it did not plumb the ultimate depth (as few performances does) but it kept us enchanted and eager, with glimpses into all kinds of emotion along the way. An unqualified success.

p.s. There is an interesting review at this site, and I concurred with almost everything the author said.