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William Hedley
MusicWeb International, May 2012

…the orchestral version [of Ravel], given here with a reduced number of strings, works beautifully on its own terms, giving lots of opportunity for the first oboe to shine, which he does here, earning himself a justified solo bow.

When Simon Rattle took the Berlin Phil to Madrid, Chabrier’s España and Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez were on the programme. Here, in Lisbon, the Portuguese element turns out to be the wonderful pianist Maria João Pires. She demonstrates impeccable classical restraint in the Mozart concerto, though not without power and drama. The orchestra accompanies her perfectly well…Pires’ fingerwork is agile and accurate, and she plays with refreshingly little show or ostentation. Listen to the way she leads the music back to the main theme of the slow movement, a model of poise and elegant music making. It’s a lovely performance overall…

Keeping the music moving, and with very pointed playing, the second movement is very successful indeed, and the central passage of the fourth movement, Bartók taking on Shostakovich, is at once more savage and less satirical than usual, an excellent idea in my book. The nocturnal middle movement brings wonderfully mellifluous and blended playing from the orchestra, and is perfectly led and paced by Boulez.

The concert has been well filmed, the camerawork pleasingly tranquil. © 2012 MusicWeb International Read complete review

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