Orchestral storytelling and emotional extremes were the drivers in Saturday’s rewarding QSO and Piers Lane – 40 Years. Tchaikovsky’s Francesca da Rimini was inspired by Dante’s tragic tale of infidelity and cruel retribution. The flamboyant and authoritative Mexican conductor Enrique Arturo Diemecke made the audience chuckle when he introduced the Tchaikovsky and announced that “Francesca was very very naughty and got tossed into the inferno because of it.”
The vivid performance that followed was cinematic and notably the engaged woodwind sang out, their tone sailing distinctively above the orchestra to the front of the sound stage. The impressive lower strings were very much on song. Diemecke commanded satisfying moments of repose.
The concert’s emotional opposites resided in Moskowski’s uplifting exhilarating Piano Concerto No 1 in E Major and Dvořák’s darkly brooding Seventh Symphony.
Piers Lane, a self-confessed champion of neglected music, was in his element as soloist for the Moskowski. This work enjoyed plenty of attention in the composer’s heyday, but for decades it gathered dust until Lane, especially, gave it pride of place in his repertoire and restored its status as a viable concerto.
Lane’s fingers travelled at the speed of light, flew up and down the keys, thundered in the double...