Classical Review: BBC Prom 63

09.06.15
Peter Oundjian
Express

So what went wrong? Well in a word, Messiaen. A man of his time, a revolutionary and pioneer, Olivier Messiaen’s Hymne sounded all shrill strings and noisy brass searching for a voice; the playing was sublime, the music unsettling. Young Russian pianist Igor Levit has a breathlessly perfect touch.

Mozart, a musician of superbly disciplined power, would have loved how conductor Peter Oundjian got through to the humanity of his music.

The final Allegro is a tune of nursery simplicity developed without fuss into a musical feast. Mozart simply made magic with no accompanying strident experiments or attempts to take the lid off human sufferings. The word “genius” simply will not go away.

Bruckner’s Symphony No 7 is a happy hour. There is little subtlety about this work, just affection, hope and celebration, music to lose yourself in. Conductor Peter Oundjian and the Royal Scottish players explored its highs and lows with an honest gusto. Bruckner ignites a myriad of sparks into any heart or mind with music that can be all things to all men.

Oundjian whipped up his musicians in the opening bars of the final scherzo in a statement of intent on a grand scale. Just as you think it cannot get better, comes a final crescendo to end all crescendos. Eerily enough, after all that musical joy, it was the Messiaen that I could not get out of my head.
 
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