Coppens gives erudite reading of Mozart

The genius of Mozart is so multi-faceted that arguments can be made for wide diversities of interpretation.

Claude-Albert Coppens, who played the great D minor concerto last night with the Bulawayo Municipal Orchestra, gave a reading that was erudite, polished and urbane.

If I say, therefore, that I found his account lacking because he failed to project some of the tragic gravity of the piece, I am aware that many could argue that Mozart himself would have wished the underlying pain to be held subservient in performance to the impeccable formal integrity of the music.

At a recent concert, some disparity in pitch between orchestra and the solo instrument was obtrusive. There is, surely, no good reason why the initial tune-up should not be on stage.

Hugh Fenn took a generally more assertive view of Mozart’s E. flat Symphony, No. 39, than one is used to. Aided by excellent orchestral playing (except in the finale), his performance was compelling and emphasized the relationship between the work and the C major “Jupiter” Symphony.

Attention to the strong, dynamic contrasts and rhythmic surprises in Beethoven’s Prometheus Overture offset occasional intonation imprecision. There was beautiful playing in Handel’s Faithful Shepherd Suite (the Beecham version), notably the gentle dialectic between flute and a quartet of strings in the adagio and the affirmative good-spirited finale.

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