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Gaudeamus Igitur - The Titfield Thunderbolt
Heisenberg might have stayed here
Gaudeamus Igitur
We were certainly packed in again from Wednesday's Prom, featuring the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra. Riccardo Chailly opened the concert with Beethoven's Coriolan overture at a very rapid pace, unexpected but effective. The other work in the first half of the concert was Beethoven's Violin Concerto. Soloist Viviane Hagner was not the originally advertised artist, but she performed sensitively and seemed to have a good relationship to the orchestra. Chailly was very different as a conductor to Barenboim the previous evening, much more avuncular and inclined to throw himself into the performance - on one or two occasions, unfortunately, perhaps more aurally than the composer intended.

The arrangement of both orchestras this week has been with the first and violins split on either side of the conductor, with cellos and violas in the centre. This seemed to work particularly well in the opening movement of Brahms' Symphony No 4, with questioning and answering phrases between the two violin sections. The work ends with the famous passacaglia on a Bach cantata theme, a combination which always seems right for Brahms' romantic yet carefully reserved style.

Chailly teased the audience by suggesting we were expecting a Hungarian Dance as an encore, then proceeded instead to give us Brahms' Academic Festival Overture. The performance was a bit rough in places, but one can argue that it is an encore. I'm not sure whether Brahms intended it as a joke, or whether it's just one of those things that happened, but there are always people who are caught out by the rest in the final bar, and last night was no exception, but no matter.


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