REVIEW: John Lill and the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra Colston Hall 8/10
IN 1963 pianist John Lill made his much acclaimed London debut in the Royal Festival Hall playing Beethoven's Piano Concerto No 5.
Since that date he has added around 80 more concertos to his wide-ranging repertoire including the same composer's brilliant Concerto No 1. which he played in this concert with the same commitment and enthusiasm as he did on that debut nearly half a century ago.
After finishing the 1st Movement with a wonderful flourish he played the beautiful Largo with such delicacy that you began to wonder if he was afraid of bruising the notes.
An attacking flying start the third movement provided a fitting end to this fine presentation.
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Conductor Karl-Heinz Steffens showed the same enthusiasm for Brahms Symphony No 1 that John Lill had for the Beethoven piano concerto, but in a far more extrovert and animated manner. At times he resembled a small boy let loose in a toy shop grabbing excitedly at the array of musical goodies surrounding him, and determined not to let even one of them escape his grasp.
Despite this exuberance he never allowed the orchestra, who readily picked up this fiery approach, to become ragged or undisciplined in their playing.
The quieter more gentle passages received as much attention as the more rousing moments in the score.
The orchestra had already shown their ability in that area with their admirably controlled playing of the haunting melodies to be found in Mendelssohn's Hebrides Overture.