Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh *****
It was a big-hearted, bold and bright account of the Beethoven Symphony, one that surged ever forwards under Bloch’s exuberant direction – which occasionally strayed a bit close to being mannered. But he articulated and balanced everything with care, too. Indeed, he has a bit of a thing for sonic texture – some of his sounds were so vivid you could almost touch them – and not a single one of the Symphony’s many notes felt less than crucial. No wonder there was a roar of appreciation at the end.
No less appreciated was Bloch’s compatriot Jean-Guihen Queyras, in a sharply etched Haydn C major Cello Concerto, delivered with such suppleness and precision that it sometimes felt he was playing a viola da gamba. His speeds were on the restrained side, but that only served to highlight the detail of his playing. His encore – the Prelude from Bach’s Third Cello Suite – had the audience hanging on his every note.
Bloch’s opener, too – the polystylistic and thoroughly likeable Baroque Song by contemporary French composer Thierry Escaich – was an ideal vehicle for his wit and total conviction. It’s a relationship to watch closely.