City Halls, Glasgow
By the end of its five long hours (or almost), Dausgaard’s Beethoven marathon felt like a revelatory experience. Things had started gently with what was rather a careful, tame Pastoral Symphony, very much an appetiser to the riches that would follow. But the concert burst into vivid life with the arrival of Canadian pianist Jan Lisiecki, who filled the lyrical Fourth Piano Concerto with energy and wonder, crystalline clarity and brittle brilliance while perched precariously on the very edge of his piano stool. Dausgaard followed that remarkable performance with an even more remarkable Fifth Symphony – seething, determined, gruff, and propelled along by a compulsion to tell us its story.
Royal Conservatoire of Scotland Voices were on strong, assertive, resonant form in three movements from Beethoven’s Mass in C. And all of the concert’s sprawling forces came together for a blistering, joyful Choral Fantasy – no less weird and unconvincing even in the concert for which Beethoven wrote it, but somehow the only appropriately crazy conclusion to what had been a crazy, exhausting, but thoroughly galvanising undertaking.