The audience that crowded the UdeC Theater on 24 March had gathered to listen to a program chosen by the listeners themselves during the past season. Günter Neuhold, an Austrian conductor with impressive credentials, infused Beethoven’s “Coriolan” Overture and Pastoral Symphony with a vitality and transparency which are characteristic among the musicians devoted to the “historically informed performance”, a practice that has definitely ceased to be exclusive of period instrument ensembles.
This approach relieved in great measure the ominous heaviness that tradition has attached to “Coriolan”, revealing the nervousness that spontaneously springs from this revolutionary score. The symphony benefited greatly from this approach, especially in the crystalline tone of the strings in the “Scene by the brook”. During the “scherzo” (“Merry gathering of country folk”), the winds shone in their solos, and the following storm reached the expected forcefulness.
Between these two Beethoven works, Sergei Sichkov gave a correct performance of the First Piano Concerto composed by his compatriot Tchaikovsky, with an accompaniment led with scrupulous attention by Maestro Neuhold. The Russian pianist living in Colombia was very expressive in the more relaxed passages and very assured in the numerous octaves in the more strenuous sections. Somewhat held back in the initial “allegro”, he unleashed all his sound power in the last bars, bringing his performance to a brilliant end, one of the highest moments in this invigorating season opening.