Those of us fortunate enough to have heard conductor Asher Fisch, violinist Nikolaj Szeps-Znaider and the West Australian Symphony Orchestraperforming Elgar’s Violin Concerto only a couple of weeks ago had been looking forward to seeing them on stage again in different guises. We were not disappointed.
Here was WASO’s principal conductor in the role of soloist, in Schumann’s Piano Concerto in A minor (1845). And here was Danish virtuoso Szeps-Znaider in the role of conductor, not only for the Schumann but for Mendelssohn’s Overture (1839) to Victor Hugo’s play Ruy Blasand Richard Strauss’s tone poems Don Juan(1888) and Death and Transfiguration(1889).
That Fisch should prove as accomplished a pianist as Szeps-Znaider is a conductor is unsurprising. These are highly cultivated artists possessed of a rich, deep and broad musicianship. Which quality shone through in abundance in this Friday night concert.
The idea of the symphonic poem, of depicting theme, character, plot and/or atmosphere in purely musical terms, could easily have served as the home key for this marvellous concert, such was the thrilling narrative momentum of the performances. Despite Mendelssohn...