Bruckner 8 Symphony was a gigantic piece of symphonic writing. What better to hear a mature and thoughtful Andris Nelsons conducting the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra? The slow measured start gave rise to the hallmark relentlessness of the later Bruckner symphonies. Nelsons brought out the rising and falling phrases, and ensured the episodic chunks together form a coherent whole. The scherzo second movement was precise and at pace. Feierlich langsam (3rd movement) was subtle, mournful with a glimmer of light. The masculine sound for the brass section delivered a memorable finale
The stars of this Prom were Stephen Hough and Queen Victoria's own richly gilded piano made by Érard (1856). Hough played Mendelssohn's piano concerto no 1 with poise and pace. The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment under Ádám Fischer provided well balanced accompaniment. Though one could hear Hough was battling with an instrument that lacked a resonant upper register. The Érard sounded like a large fortepiano with good middle and lower register voice, but to modern ears that are used to Steinway Model Ds it sounded somewhat dull. The encore (Chopin Nocturne No 2 in E Flat) suited the keyboard much more - with a mellow sound one could imagine a musical soireé in a drawing room at Buckingham Palace. An interesting concert, memorable for different reasons.