Vienna Tonkünstler Orchestra with Angela Hewitt

Yesterday evening I rounded off a busy week with yet another visit to St David’s Hall in Cardiff for another in their international concert series featuring visiting orchestras.

This time it was the Vienna Tonkünstler Orchestra, under conductor Yutaka Sado.

They opened their programme with a piece which has been a favourite of mine since I first heard it as a schoolboy, the Hebrides Overture by Felix Mendelssohn, s piece which is evocative of the changing moods and colours of the sea. 

The orchestra was then joined by star piano soloist Angela Hewitt in the first half for Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4, which she played with her customary poise and precision to rapturous applause from the audience. We even got an encore, in the form of a short solo piece by Bach (the composer with whose music her name is most closely associated). I couldn’t quite place it, but it might have been from one of the English suites, no Welsh suites being available.

After the break it was time for another very popular classic, the Symphony No. 9 by Antonín Dvořák (“From the New World”). It may be a well-known piece, but the performance was very fresh and invigorating. We got an encore in the second half too: the exuberant overture to Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro.

It was rather conservative programme, perhaps, but hugely enjoyable nevertheless. These pieces are old favourites because they’re good, and stand up well to repeated listening especially when played by a top-notch orchestra like the Vienna Tonkünstler!

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6 Responses to “Vienna Tonkünstler Orchestra with Angela Hewitt”

  1. Bryn Jones Says:

    That sounds like an excellent concert. Angela Hewitt is an excellent pianist, although I too associate her more with J. S. Bach than Beethoven. Beethoven’s Fourth Piano Concerto has an astonishing beginning: starting in a quiet, reserved, unshowy, way with the pianist alone breaking the silence, instead of the customary orchestral music followed by a showy pianistic introduction.

    Dvorak’s Ninth Symphony is deservedly well known and popular. Curiously, his Fifth and Sixth Symphonies are also very appealing but are far less known, and only occasionally performed.

    • telescoper Says:

      The Beethoven Concerto does indeed have a very interesting opening, very understated and unobtrusive by the piano, but thereafter it has a fairly conventional structure.

      • Anton Garrett Says:

        The second movement opens in the opposite way to normal too!

      • telescoper Says:

        Yes, and it ends by jumping from a minor key straight into the final movement’s C-major.

        The overall feeling of this piece is quite strange. At times it’s almost as if the piano is trying to tell the orchestra to calm down!

  2. Anton Garrett Says:

    The Vienna Tonkünstler are touring Britain at the moment. I saw them a week earlier at the Bridgewater Hall in Manchester, playing Schubert’s Unfinished and Brahms’ first symphonies and Mozart’s clarinet concerto. A fine evening!

  3. John Peacock Says:

    Nostalgia: I only heard that orchestra once, and that was in Vienna in 1975. A less populist programme, including the Khachaturian violin concerto; I thought they were impressive. I like their name as well: “The sound artists orchestra” – does what it says on the tin…

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