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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Yesterday at the Maison Symphonique in Montreal, concert featuring:

Beethoven 5th Piano Concerto "Emperor" - Stephen Hough
Thus Spake Zarathustra, Strauss
David Zinman, Conductor

The concert was worth it for the Strauss. It was my first time hearing it in performance and I was not disappointed. I picked up many subtleties of the score I had never noticed in recording. The organ work was excellent. I was in the choir section and David Zinman took great care in precisely conducting of the different string sections from Strauss' score, which he had in front of him but never turned a page. He conducted with a big smile on his face and obviously knew the work very well, with great results. The OSM performed with virtuosity and seemed to be enjoying themselves. Excellent work from all of the different soloists. Andrew Wan, first violin, was excellent in the Tanzlied section. Trumpets projected a velvety tone and never failed in each appearance of the "Nature" motiv. Zinman reinforced the orchestra with as many additional players as he could fit. The highlight was for me the "Von der Wissenschaft." The contrabasses projected just the right volume and launched into the fugue, which turned into a glorious climax. I suspect anyone listening to the work for the first time and with limited understanding of the programme would still have grasped the essence of the work, thanks to this outstanding interpretation.

The Beethoven was a tad disappointing. There were great moments but the whole did not stand as the revolutionary work that it is. Hough infused his playing with romantic élan but did not project the confrontational nature of the piano writing in the first movement with enough virility . The orchestra was going along with what the conductor wanted with virtuosity (good work on the timpani and the wind section was gorgeous throughout), but it seemed that there was no understanding between conductor and soloist as far as their vision of the piece.

Good concert though and I have not given up on Hough. Would love to hear him again with a different work.
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