There was a sense of exhilaration that energized the music making Thursday night at L'Auditori in Barcelona and the applause from the live audience went on all night. "The representation of chaos" from Haydn's Creation, up to the point where the bass is about to proclaim the creation of light, was the perfect overture to a rebirth. It opened crisply and then took on a sweet, lyrical swing and graceful movement that was more seductive than biblical. The balance wasn't perfect. The little bassoon lick at the end got lost. But the effect was profound.

Daniel Ottensamer
© Julia Stix

Fernando Sor's little two-movement Sinfonia was industrious and witty, as if the composer were trying to be like Haydn and had us waiting for a punch line that never quite came. An inspired second theme in the fast second movement came equipped with an escape mechanism that allowed the players to have lots of fun with cute mewing grace notes and repeating patterns.

The two brothers Ottensamer, Andreas and Daniel, both in their early 30s and both superb – they are principals in Berlin and Vienna – and quite different. Andreas is the younger, sexier one, more quicksilver in the way he plays and emotes the music. But it was Daniel we got, substituting at the last minute for his brother and it was a more reflective, mysterious Mozart Clarinet Concerto. Jonathan Cohen started out the Barcelona and Catalonia National Symphony Orchestra at a naively impetuous, quick, breathless tempo as if on the way to an assignation, or as if the orchestra knew it was a clarinet concerto by Mozart and were eager to meet the soloist.

Ottensamer also seemed impetuous, but in a silken unhurried way. He began the Adagio with a hushed intensity and lack of speed then played the Rondo about as quick as can be, full of springtime and laughter. After relentless applause, Ottensamer played a short encore, an exercise in timbres that died away into the night, to yet more applause.

Mozart's Jupiter Symphony began with splendid pomp. The woodwinds were now much better balanced and contributed to the sweep and majesty, with powerful thumps in the bass. After a Minuetto which had irresistible momentum and a real sense of dialogue in the Trio, the Finale started impatient, a little fussy, before breaking out into the light with a splendid sense of discovery, and military bolts of pride delivered incisively.

The audience applauded for five minutes before they would let the orchestra go.

This concert was reviewed from the L'Auditori Digital live stream