Beethoven – Concerto for piano, violin, and cello in C major, op.56
Schumann – Symphony no.2 in C major, op.61
Baiba Skride (violin)
Daniel Müller-Schott (cello)
Lars Vogt (piano)
London Philharmonic Orchestra
Christoph Eschenbach (conductor)
Christoph Eschenbach is a regular visitor to the London Philharmonic, but I think this was the first time I caught them together. I certainly hope that it will not be the last, for it is quite a while since I have heard the LPO on such good form. There was no nonsense about scaling the orchestra down (fifteen firsts down to eight double basses for the Schumann works); that cannot but have helped. But the dark, convincingly German tone Eschenbach drew from the orchestra was just as important, probably more so. Schumann’s Bride of Messina Overture made for an excellent opening, its introduction full of tension, slow but quite the opposite of staid, as if on a coiled spring. The main Allegro was properly tormented, the prominent piccolo part reminiscent of Beethoven’s use of the instrument. A warmly lyrical clarinet second subject offered balm to the soul, though it was soon undercut. This is the sort of piece – and performance – for which the word ‘Romanticism’ might have been intended, and it is a piece we should hear more often.