Hamburg Chamber Orchestra,
First came Mozart's 'Jeunehomme' [aka Jenamy] Piano Concerto (No. 9) which the just-turned-21 Mozart produced for the French amateur Mlle Jeunehomme, who was passing through Salzburg and wanted something for her concerts there. She must have been some player; this is one of the composer's most sophisticated concertos, and I think one of the longest of the 27. Soloist Felix Tennie introduced himself in the second bar of the opening allegro – unheard-of presumptuousness in Mozart's day – following up later with a prolonged trill before forceful work with the left-hand in his little cadenza. Conductor Justus Tennie (brother of Felix), in his final concert with this band, kept well up to the tempo. I enjoyed his conducting style; precise, jabbing baton movements, rather bird-like, and giving out plenty of vim to his young players.
In the andantino Felix made a deliberate start, making a statement of intent vis à vis the purity of emotion in the score. The little minuet, a lullaby almost, in the finale was played in relaxed manner in contrast to the brilliance of writing surrounding it. Impressive piano playing, and backed up by Brahms' Ballade Op. 10, No. 4 as an encore, delivered with muted warmth. Tennie's principal job as physics lecturer at
Elgar's music is not nearly as well known on the Continent. His Serenade for Strings (1896) was the first work he allowed to go forward into posterity without blanching at its immaturity. In the larghetto, the music seemed to sway as though engaged in a slow quadrille, and the upper strings played with poise and heart. There were moments hereabouts where the cellos sounded a little rough, and in the finale of the Haydn symphony I noted some uncertainty from the two horns in their little thrusts.
In all other respects the standard of playing was first-class; energy flowed from the very first bald, unison statement in the Mozart, and when we arrived at Haydn's surprisingly muscular opening, drama abounded. In the two succeeding movements the awkward stop-start rhythms were surmounted with ease. They even managed the famous disappearing trick, leaving the stage in pairs and trios with aplomb. To