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Prom 37: BBC Philharmonic/Noseda
The Guardian (UK)
By Martin Kettle
At first glance, the Italian and German programme selected by Gianandrea Noseda, the BBC Philharmonic's chief conductor, for the orchestra's latest Prom looked like a concert without any obvious focus. But Noseda is a committed advocate of everything he performs, and the evening retained interest throughout because of the directness and strength of the performances.
Noseda's pacy and vigorous account of Verdi's overture to La Forza del Destino made his intentions clear from the off. The same press-on approach marked his account of Schumann's fourth symphony at the end of the evening. Sandwiched between these, however, were the pieces that provided, respectively, the concert's greatest curiosity and its most surefire success.
Luigi Dallapiccola's Partita, written in the 1930s and never before performed at the Proms, is an extended, muscular and, in many ways, uncharacteristic four-movement early work. Its gently pulsating final section is a medieval lullaby for soprano soloist, sung here with compelling tenderness by Sarah Tynan. It would be an exaggeration to call the Partita a revelatory score, but its rigour, clarity and professionalism make it a piece whose neglect in this country seems parochial.
No one could call Max Bruch's first violin concerto, which regularly appears in lists of the public's classical favourites, a neglected work. The Canadian violinist James Ehnes showed why the public is right to love it. He played the Bruch with the expressive conviction and full range of instrumental colour that the piece demands, with Noseda again a fully committed accompanist.