★★★★½ English masterpieces by Elgar and Vaughan Williams in superbly played programme.
The solo part in Elgar’s Cello Concerto was played by the young Dutch cellist Harriet Krijgh. Though her tone is not as full as some of the great cellists who have essayed this work (notably Jacqueline Du Pre, whom she somewhat resembles in looks), her pitch was sure and she projected the solo line strongly into the house. This late work contains a built-in strain of melancholy that was never over-emphasised in Krijgh’s rendition: she produced a line of seamless lyrical beauty in the first movement, great delicacy and immaculate control in the scherzo (matched by the orchestra), then more openly heartfelt phrasing in the slow movement and the concerto’s touching coda.
It was an impressive performance that will only grow more personal and deeply felt with time. Spano and the orchestra’s contribution proved a great asset; to take just one instance, they made a sharp point of Elgar’s offbeat accented chords in the finale. Overall, this was not just a fascinating program but a genuine showcase for the orchestra, and a wonderful introduction to an expressive young cellist.