REVIEW: The Hallé City Hall

IT was probably too much to expect the zing factor that seemed to permeate every minute of the City of Birmingham Symphony’s concert a fortnight earlier, although the large-scale works of Brahms don’t lend themselves to it.

Ravel’s G major piano concerto certainly does in the work’s outer movements but it was if we were listening to it through a gauze curtain, which dampened the dynamics.

The young pianist David Kadouch revealed himself to be a formidably gifted technician with dazzlingly accurate dexterity but it all sounded tonally bland and one-dimensional.

There was next to no sparkle nor the sheer brilliance written into the jazz-inflected music and the soloist’s silky touch pianism seemed more readily at home in the central slow movement where Tom Davey’s cor anglais playing was as always first-rate.

The Hallé’s playing carried more zip without being particularly robust but a flashing thought that maybe the not much older conductor Robin Ticciati may not yet be yet fully attuned to the subtleties of French music was quickly dismissed.

He already has something of a reputation for Berlioz and you could understand why in the composer’s Beatrice and Benedict Overture.

Although it had occasional, fleeting patches of Hallé untidiness (a rarity these days), the music moved along without affectation, with lightness of touch and plenty of gusto.

Ticciati’s way with Brahms’ First Symphony was to be appreciated because he didn’t treat it with kid glove reverence.

It was energetic with light, even bright textures and unforced vibrancy and drama in the rabble-rousing last movement.

He didn’t get bogged down in the andante, which glowed round Stephane Rancourt’s singing oboe, but while the whole had a certain authority, in the final analysis it lacked character.

Bernard Lee