Twice in a week we have enjoyed ideal concert experiences in which all the elements came together; Mozart at Wigmore Hall and this at Cadogan Hall.

© PGW
© PGW

In both cases the acoustics made an essential contribution, Wigmore Hall's giving lustre to Kristian Bezuidenhout's fortepiano and that of the beautiful Cadogan Hall (sold out for this Zurich International Concert and heard from the gallery where the sound is best) enhancing the richness of the chamber orchestra for Wagner and Mahler.

I knew of the reduction of Das Lied von der Erde intended for Schoenberg's Society for Private Musical Performance in Vienna, completed only in 1983, but had never heard it.

Pappano and his ROH players totally vindicated our annotator's claim that it had preserved "the delicate nuances of colour while losing little of the original's power and intensity". Yes! Five winds and strings each with piano, harmonium, celesta and percussion achieved miracles (only the harp did I miss!).

Thomas Hampson gave a worthy rendering of the songs more usually associated with low female voices (Ferrier, Baker etc) but the evening's palm goes to the tenor Klaus Florian Vogt, whose biography lists international credits in opera and concert (my link is to an interesting video of him in Parsifal).

Here, possibly at his London debut, we enjoyed fullest rewards from the reduced orchestration. Without visible strain (many tenors go red in the face trying to rise above the full Mahler orchestra) Vogt displayed easy command of it all, with a relaxed platform manner and plenty of power in reserve. He would, I felt sure, be equally persuasive as a song recitalist.

Vogt apart, Antonio Pappano held everything together with expressive playing from everyone, including his own piano part in the adolescent Mahler's over-extended piano quartet movement, and conducting a ravishing account of the Siegried Idyll.

Do hear this great concert's broadcast R3 March 3, or on BBC iPlayer Listen Again for a week afterwards.

For the links, see original at http://www.musicalpointers.co.uk/reviews/liveevents11/MahlerWagnerPappano.html

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