Concerto in the grand manner

The distinguished British pianist Kendall Taylor was soloist in Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto at last night’s concert by the Bulawayo Municipal Orchestra under Hugh Fenn.

Technically his performance was enormously impressive – a really authoritative display in grand manner. The power and accuracy of the double octaves in the first movement’s development and the Dionysian vigour of the rondo finale were nothing less than thrilling.

For me, his easily singing tone in the slow movement missed something of it introspective, musing character, and his hesitations in the descending phrases of the second group of subjects in the first movement sounded mannered and disturbing.

Good Playing

Nevetheless it was a remarkable performance and controlled.

The concert opened with a neatly accented reading of Mozart’s Overture Lucio Silla. There was good playing in a Purcell Suite and Haydn’s Symphony No. 99 in E. Flat, though the Minuetto of the latter was slightly ponderous.

For some reason the violas were seated in front of the flutes and oboe. They submerged a lot of the important woodwind detail in the Mozart and Haydn.

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