Adventurous and complementary are words that spring to mind for the programme of the Hungarian National Philharmonic's Sands Centre concert.
Under their conductor Zoltan Kocsis they brought the Carlisle audience Sudden time by George Benjamin, a contemporary English composer: The quartet of alto flutes produced some dreamlike effects. Some clever handiwork, also, by the player of the tablas, a small drum from Northern India.
Rachmaninov's Five Songs were here arranged by the conductor. The powerful delivery of Attila Fekete telling the poetic stories of the great Russian romantic poets was a voice Carlisle concert goers would surely like to hear again.
That Mozart had foreboding's toward the end of his all too short life is certainly reflected in the Piano Concerto no. 27 in B flat major K595. Zoltan Kocsis directing the orchestra from the piano made it all fit in with a grace and artistic ingenuity that would have lifted Mozart's spirit as it did the audiences. The second movement Larghetto framed an elusiveness of sound with Mr Kocsis playing the theme with just the right hand.
The Dvorak Symphony no. 9 in E minor must qualify for Sir Thomas Beecham's title of 'lollypop'. Certainly the much loved second movement Largo with its key transition to D flat can be sometimes syrupy but certainly not here. The ninth never palls because Dvorak never loses the Slavic idiom in spite of the brash interludes that seem to bespeak the American outlook. The orchestra was clear in its portrayal From the New World. How better to navigate the Sands Centre's car park than with the encore's Hungarian Dance still ringing in one's ears.
(Carlisle, The Sands Centre, November 14, 2003)
Arthur C Williams