Concert

Kurt Sanderling conducts Schumann and Mahler

BBC Proms, 1988

Live
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Cast

BBC Philharmonic Orchestra

Kurt Sanderling — Conductor

Program notes

What can we glean from watching Sanderling at the BBC Proms in London in 1988? On the podium, he is relaxed and smiling in the Schumann Symphony, a work he had doubtless conducted countless times in Germany itself (he does so from memory in the Royal Albert Hall). This is absolutely not a hard-driven performance: the first movement is less troubled than sometimes, the slow movements has a warm inner glow, the contrasts between the scherzo and trio are well brought out but happily not exaggerated, and the finale is fast enough but never furious. The transitions between movements, a seemingly Minor matter but always of concern to Schumann, who linked all four movements of the symphony together, are beautifully yet unobtrusively managed. Of course, the spacious acoustic of the venue may have had something to do with this, and I guess that Sanderling is listening intently to his players. The BBC's Manchester-based orchestra was lucky enough to welcome him as their regular guest conductor, after an initial and successful first encounter some thirteen years previously when Sanderling was already over sixty! So at this Prom, they knew each other well.

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