Review: Czech National Symphony Orchestra @ SDH
Czech National Symphony Orchestra
Saint David’s Hall
Monday 18th November 2013
A Monday night is a dull thing for sure. But a last minute grab for tickets to this great orchestra was a certainty.
With what looked like a fair bit of music for just one evening, we had a selection from their homeland as well as Germany and Austria.
To set us on our way was Schubert’s Unfinished 8th Symphony. Its opening is famous and would later be evoked in Swan Lake. I have not been the biggest fan of this composer and this opinion came through here. The member of press I was sitting next to, who I got to engage with in conversation for most of the night, told me the brass weren’t able to come through as they should have done. I didn’t see it that way, but realised it was most likely true and perhaps a reason why I didn’t get on with the piece.
Up next was the immortal Violin Concerto by Max Bruch. Taking on this hefty role was CholÃ© Hanslip. At the age of twenty two, she can be declared as one of the greats of her generation. Her showy yet defined nature is truthful and makes for engaging viewing. In the interval people gushed around her to congratulate her and obtain her autograph. We may see an interview with her, as she gave me her manager’s details. Here's hoping.
Strauss’ Overture to his opera Die Fledermaus (The Bat) was our way back into part two. This jolly and seamless introduction makes you want to hear the rest and the orchestra played it to their hearts content. As we began the evening with a symphony, it seemed fitting to finish it with another. This time the 8th of DvoÅ™Ã¡k was our finale. This is no where near as gripping as his 9th, but a nice Scherzo is always a highpoint.
The encore was the Libertango by Piazolla. This was a bizarre choice but was a nice funky send off,although a little jarring. I would have expected a piece from their native country, like one of DvoÅ™Ã¡k’s Slavonic Dances.
Photo Credit: http://www.cnso.cz