BBC SSO ****
City Halls, Glasgow
Borrowings from Stravinsky lurk in the impulsive, motorised rhythms and succinct ostinati. Blacher combines that with a sumptuous but powerfully unsentimental lyricism, long arcs of melody that soften the brittle underscore.
König injected its single-movement format with tantalising clarity, where solo instruments conversed with speedy repartee, and a compelling sense of aerated energy made every moment one to savour and smile over.
As such, it was the perfect preparation for Johannes Moser’s highly charged solo performance in Haydn’s Cello Concerto in C. König didn’t initially engage the orchestra – they were a bit sluggish in the opening movement – but when things clicked into gear, magic happened. Moser invested Haydn’s playful music with infinite contrasts and surprises, setting a record-breaking pace in the finale. There was plenty to enjoy in König’s cool dissection of Brahms’ Symphony No 1, even if some splashy moments interrupted its otherwise smooth passage.